A life in quotes: bell hooks | Books

bell hooks, the feminist author, poet, theorist, and cultural critic, has died at the age of 69 at his home in Berea, Kentucky. Her works, including Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, All About Love, Bone Black, Feminist Theory and Communion: The Female Search for Love, were beacons for a generation of writers and thinkers in academia. and beyond.

Here are a handful of his most memorable quotes:


The only person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourselves. Learning to love ourselves as women is where our search for love should begin.
– Communion: The Search for Female Love, 2002

But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be lonely is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.
– All About Love: New Visions, 1999

The moment we choose to love, we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love, we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that set ourselves and others free.
–Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, 1994

Building community requires a vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.
– Teaching community: a pedagogy of hope, 2003

The dominant culture has tried to keep us all in fear, to make us choose safety over risk, uniformity over diversity. Going through that fear, discovering what connects us, reveling in our differences; This is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.
– Teaching community: a pedagogy of hope, 2003

On feminism:

It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism for their own purposes, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but instead of resigning myself to this appropriation, I choose to reappropriate the term ‘feminism’, to focus on the fact that to be a ‘feminist’ in any authentic sense of the term is to want liberation for all people, women and men. of sexist role patterns, domination and oppression.
– Ain’t IA Woman: Black Women and Feminism, 1981

If any woman feels that she needs something beyond herself to legitimize and validate her existence, she is already giving up her power to define herself, her agency.
– Feminism Is for Everyone: Passionate Politics, 2000

No black writer in this culture can write ‘too much’. In fact, no woman writer can write ‘too much’… No woman has written enough.”
– Rapture Remembered: The Writer at Work, 1999

Portrait of Bell HooksPortrait of American author and feminist bell hooks (née Gloria Jean Watkins) smiling, arms crossed, New York, 1980s. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)
Photograph: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

We continue to implement anti-sexist thinking and practice that affirms the reality that women can achieve self-actualization and success without dominating one another.”
– Feminism Is for Everyone: Passionate Politics, 2000

On racism and white supremacy:

marginality [is] much more than a deprivation site. In fact, he was saying quite the opposite: that it is also the place of radical possibility, a space of resistance.
Marginality as a place of resistance1990

Understanding marginality as a position and a place of resistance is crucial for the oppressed, exploited, and colonized peoples. If we only see the margin as a sign, which marks the condition of our pain and deprivation, then some hopelessness and despair, a deep nihilism destructively penetrates into the very foundation of our being. It is there in that space of collective hopelessness where creativity and imagination are at stake, there the mind is completely colonized, there the freedom that is longed for is lost.
– Marginality as a place of resistance, 1990

All our silences in the face of racist attacks are acts of complicity.
– Killing Rage: End Racism, 1995

We can’t fight white supremacy unless we can teach people to love justice. You have to love justice more than your loyalty to your race, sexuality and gender. It’s about justice.
interview with Jet magazine, 2013

On the patriarchy:

The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of men is not violence against women. Instead, patriarchy requires all men to engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, to remove their emotional parts. If an individual is unsuccessful in becoming emotionally paralyzed, he can count on patriarchal men to perform power rituals that will assault his self-esteem.
– The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love, 2004

I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp and ongoing critique of marriage in a patriarchal society, because once you get married into a society that’s still patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there’s still a culture outside of you. that will impose many, many values ​​on you, whether you want it or not.
– Feminism Is for Everyone: Passionate Politics, 2000

On forgiveness and hope:

For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for their wrongdoing while staying in touch with their humanity long enough to believe in their ability to be transformed?
in conversation with Maya Angelou, 1998

The function of art is to do more than say things as they are: it is to imagine what is possible.
–Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, 2012

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