Dr. Marc Lamont Hill chats with readers about race and traffic stops

DAILY NEWS EDITOR-AT-LARGE Marc Lamont Hill chatted with readers on Philly.com yesterday about his debut column, on his controversial police stop last year by Officer Richard DeCoatsworth.

Here are some excerpts:

* John: Hi, Marc! Great article. This is a hot topic,

and I’m sure you’ve gotten some heat from both sides of this, so kudos to having courage to write this. My question for you is, do you think what the cop did was racist? Was it cut-and-dry racism? This term gets thrown around so much, and I think debate ensues whenever someone’s accused. If yes, where do you think he crossed line from prejudice to racism? When he started asking how you could afford car, etc.?

* Marc Lamont Hill: Thanks for the question. I’m not

particularly interested in determining whether or not the officer was racist in terms of his personal beliefs and worldview. I do know that the events that transpired were inappropriate, unreasonable, and certainly linked to racist policies and practices. To me, that’s what 21st-century race talk has to be about: “post-intentionality.” Regardless of whether or not an individual has particular animus toward another group is largely irrelevant in light of the systems and structures that continue to advantage people based on race, class and gender.

* Brian: Marc, always enjoyed you schooling Bill

O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor.” What are your solutions to improving the relationship between police and the black community?

* MLH: Police-community dialogue, citizen review

boards, greater transparency of police practices and procedures, and cultural training for officers in the academy and continuing education.

* Law Abiding Citizen: Marc – while I feel for your

specific case, don’t you feel more often that not for the police to do what they do is for the greater good of society? If TSA agents had profiled, something like 9/11 could have been avoided, no?

* MLH: No, I don’t believe that we can ever compro-

mise our laws and ethics for broader safety. The idea that we can violate the Constitution and/or rule of law and not fall into a state of fascism is unreasonable and unacceptable to me. Also, TSA agents may have been able to avoid an attack through BEHAVIORAL profiling, not racial/ethnic/religious profiling.

* Johnny Gentle: Can you see how any of the

officers’ actions that you mentioned might have been taken to ensure his and your safety? I think that things done in the name of safety are often misinterpreted as aggression/hatred.

* MLH: As a general rule, I can see how certain

measures are done as a precaution. This does not

represent such a case.

Philly.com