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Quotes by bell hooks

Welcome to our collection of text (and text on picture) quotes by bell hooks. We hope they prove interesting to ponder and share.

Wikipedia Summary for bell hooks

Gloria Jean Watkins (born September 25, 1952), better known by her pen name bell hooks, is an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. The name "bell hooks" is borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.

The focus of hooks' writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published more than 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism. In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.


Living simply makes loving simple.



There is a lushness to how my mind works.



Using pseudonyms was such a part of the early feminist movement. We didn't want to have this star system. We wanted attention on the ideas, not the persona of the writer.



You can only realize change if you live simply. Once people want enormous excess, you can hardly do social change.



All the men I fall for seem to have a commitment problem.



Class is more than money. Class is also about knowledge.









Like hedonistic consumption, we are encouraged to believe that the excesses of the family are normal and that it is abnormal to believe that one can have a functional, loving family.



Critically intervene in a way that challenges and changes.



There is not a day of my life that I am not critiquing myself to see if my politics are borne out in the way that I live and the way that I talk and present myself.



Women's liberationists, white and black, will always be at odds with one another as long as our idea of liberation is based on having the power white men have. For that power denies unity, denies common connections, and is inherently divisive.



One of the most subversive institutions in the United States is the public library.









Young girls often feel strong, courageous, highly creative, and powerful until they begin to receive undermining sexist messages that encourage them to conform to conventional notions of femininity. To conform they have to give up power.





For many people the thrill of having more is intensified by the presence of those who have less. Waste is not the issue here. To many greedy individuals, power lies in withholding resources.



This fear of maleness that they inspire estranges men from every female in their lives to greater or lesser degrees, and men feel the loss. Ultimately, one of the emotional costs of allegiance to patriarchy is to be seen as unworthy of trust.











The message received from the mass media is that knowledge makes love less compelling; that it is ignorance that gives love its erotic and transgressive edge.



Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they chose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them.









While the patriarchal boys in hip-hop crew may talk about keeping it real, there has been no musical culture with black men at the forefront of its creation that has been steeped in the politics of fantasy and denial as the more popular strands of hip-hop.











We have to constantly critique imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.



Confronting the endless desire that is at the heart of our individual overconsumption and global excess is the only intervention that can ward off the daily call to consume that bombards us on all sides.





As many black women and other women of color saw white women from privileged classes benefiting economically more than any other group from reformist feminist gains in the workforce, it simply reaffirmed that feminism was a white woman thing.



From the onset, reformist white women with class privilege were well aware that the power and freedom they wanted was the freedom they perceived men of their class enjoying.







To critique sexist images without offering alternatives is an incomplete intervention. Critique in and of itself does not lead to change.



Consider the possibility that to love blackness is dangerous in a white supremacist culture- so threatening, so serious a breach in the fabric of the social order, that death is the punishment.



Wisely, Baldwin insisted that we are always more than our pain. Not only did he believe in our capacity to love, he felt black people were uniquely situated to risk loving because we had suffered.





We must live by the fundamental, dialectical principle that progress comes only from struggling to resolve contradictions.







All too often we think of community in terms of being with folks like ourselves: the same class, same race, same ethnicity, same social standing and the like..I think we need to be wary: we need to work against the danger of evoking something that we don't challenge ourselves to actually practice.



When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment.







What had begun as a movement to free all black people from racist oppression became a movement with its primary goal the establishment of black male patriarchy.



I'm such a girl for the living room. I really like to stay in my nest and not move. I travel in my mind, and that that's a rigorous state of journeying for me. My body isn't that interested in moving from place to place.



Some people act as though art that is for a mass audience is not good art, and I think this has been a very negative thing. I know that I have wanted very much to write books that are accessible to the widest audience possible.



It's in the act of having to do things that you don't want to that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego.



Whenever women struggle with breast cancer and face better care than ever, that's feminism.



In this culture, the phrase 'black woman' is not synonymous with 'tender,' or 'gentle.' It's as if those words couldn't possibly speak to the reality of black females.



Any society based on domination supports and condones violence.



When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.



I think Black people need to take self-esteem seriously.



I thought about how we need to make children feel that there are times in their lives when they need to be alone and quiet and to be able to accept their aloneness.



The ethic of liberal individualism has so deeply permeated the psyches of blacks... of all classes that we have little support for a political ethic of communalism that promotes the sharing of resources.



My idea of a delicious time is to read a book that is wonderful. But the ruling passion of my life is being a seeker after truth and the divine.



Many spiritual teachers -- in Buddhism, in Islam -- have talked about first-hand experience of the world as an important part of the path to wisdom, to enlightenment.



I feel that my environment reflects my belief in the grace and art and elegance of living simply.



I don't think you can hate anything that you know intimately. There is no fine line separating love from hate because there's a deep chasm separating love from hate.



The political core of any movement for freedom in the society has to have the political imperative to protect free speech.



But love is really more of an interactive process. It's about what we do not just what we feel. It's a verb, not a noun.



There is no life to be found in violence. Every act of violence brings us closer to death. Whether it's the mundane violence we do to our bodies by overeating toxic food or drink or the extreme violence of child abuse, domestic warfare, life-threatening poverty, addiction, or state terrorism.



Certainly we can end racism with love. We can demand that the federal government change its emphasis on racial distinction.



The institutionalization of Black Studies, Feminist Studies, all of these things, led to a sense that the struggle was over for a lot of people and that one did not have to continue the personal consciousness-raising and changing of one's viewpoint.



In general, the mass media tell us that black people are not loving, that our lives are so fraught with violence and aggression that we have no time to love.



Once you do away with the idea of people as fixed, static entities, then you see that people can change, and there is hope.



No other group in America has so had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women... When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women.



I began writing a book on love because I felt that the United States is moving away from love.



Yesterday I was thinking about the whole idea of genius and creative people, and the notion that if you create some magical art, somehow that exempts you from having to pay attention to the small things.



We judge on the basis of what somebody looks like, skin color, whether we think they're beautiful or not. That space on the Internet allows you to converse with somebody with none of those things involved.



All over the world, young males and females, schooled in the art of patriarchal thinking, are building an identity on a foundation that sees the will to do violence as the essential way to assert being.



I have been thinking about the notion of perfect love as being without fear, and what that means for us in a world that's becoming increasingly xenophobic, tortured by fundamentalism and nationalism.



The greatest movement for social justice our country has ever known is the civil rights movement and it was totally rooted in a love ethic.



I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance.



Since anti-racist individuals did not control mass media, the media became the primary tool that would be used and is still used to convince black viewers, and everyone else, of black inferiority.



Why is it that many contemporary male thinkers, especially men of color, repudiate the imperialist legacy of Columbus but affirm dimensions of that legacy by their refusal to repudiate patriarchy?



I have always been a flirt. My mother says whe I was a child, I used to stand outside the house and just smile at everyone who walked by. Like, 'Please take me with you!'



Since loving is about knowing, we have more meaningful love relationships when we know each other and it takes time to know each other.



For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?


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