“White women and black men have it both ways. They can act as oppressor or be oppressed. Black men may be victimized by racism, but sexism allows them to act as exploiters and oppressors of women. White women may be victimized by sexism, but racism enabled them to act as exploiters and oppressors of black people. Both groups have led liberation movements that favor their interests and support the continued oppression of other groups. Black male sexism has undermined struggles to eradicate racism just as white female racism undermines feminist struggle. As long as these two groups or any group defines liberation as gaining social equality with ruling class white men, they have a vested interest in the continued exploitation and oppression of others.”—bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From margin to center
bell hooks resources
Some of the work bell hooks’ has done as available on the internet for personal education and reference. Certain books that were up are gone and I’m looking about finding them again. In the meantime if you need them, contact me by leaving a message with your email address in the submissions box and I’ll email them to you. If you find anything, please contact me as well. The most updated version of this list will always be here.
- Ain’t I a Woman (pdf)
- Art on my Mind (email)
- Beauty Laid Bare: Aesthetics in the Ordinary (google doc)
- Black Looks: Race and Representation (pdf)
- Black Women Intellectuals (pdf) (from Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life with Cornel West)
- “Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness” (pdf) (from Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics)
- “Cool Cynicism” (pdf) (from Reel to Real
- Cultural Criticism and Transformation (youtube video, part 1)
Also: Transcript (pdf)
- Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance (page 366 or type in page 406 of 795)
- Ending Domination: The Struggle Continues (youtube video, full)
- “Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression” (pdf) (from Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center)
- Feminism Is For Everybody: Passionate Politics (pdf)
- “Feminist Class Struggle” (article, though pdf download available through the link) (as I understand, excerpted from Feminism is for Everybody)
- “Feminist Theory: A Radical Agenda” (pdf) (from Talking Back)
- “Is Paris Burning?” (pdf) (Chapter 9 of Black Looks: Race and Representation
- Killing Rage: Ending Racism (pdf) and the opening essay (pdf)
- Love as the Practice of Freedom (pdf)
- “Marginality as site of resistance” (pdf)
- Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (pdf)
- “Postmodern Blackness” (pdf) (from Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics)
- Remembered Rapture: Dancing With Words (pdf)
- “Romance: Sweet Love” (pdf) (from Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions, 4th Ed. By S. Shaw and J. Lee)
- Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace. (pdf)
- “Straightening out Hair” (article)
- Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (pdf)
- Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (pdf)
- The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators. (pdf)
- Understanding Patriarchy (pdf)
- Where We Stand: Class Matters (pdf)
- We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity (pdf). Also here.
- Her talk at Louis & Clark college from 1 February, 2006 here.
To note, this is meant in particular for those people who’d like to educate themselves but don’t have the resources to get these books for themselves. bell hooks has put a lot of work into these, and it would be horrible if you could afford to buy the books and didn’t.
Edit as of 19th April, 2013: list updated and alphabetized. Many thanks to wretchedoftheearth, elainecastillo, grim-dark, erosum, mmmajestic, andreaisace, ebookcollective, cantbereallif and ericstoller who all helped add links and resources.
“All white women in this nation know that their status is different from that of black women/women of color. They know this from the time they are little girls watching television and seeing only their images. They know that the only reason nonwhites are absent/invisible is because they are not white. All white women in this nation know that whiteness is a privileged category. The fact that white females may choose to repress or deny this knowledge does not mean they are ignorant: it means that they are in denial.”—bell hooks
“Students who considered themselves socialists were not so much interested in the poor as they were desirous of leading the poor, of being their guides and saviors. It was just this paternalism toward the poor that the vision of solidarity I had learned in religious settings was meant to challenge. From a spiritual perspective, the poor were there to guide and lead the rest of us by example if not by outright action and testimony. As a student I read Marx, Gramsci, and a host of other male thinkers on the subject of class. These works provided theoretical paradigms but rarely offered tools for confronting the complexity of class in daily life. [...] [W]hen I told friends and colleagues that I was resigning from my academic job to focus on writing, I was warned that I was making a dangerous mistake, that I could not possibly live on an income that was between twenty and thirty thousand dollars a year. When I pointed to the reality that families of four and more live on such an income, the response would be “that’s different”; the difference being, of course, one of class. The poor are expected to live with less and are socialized to accept less (badly made clothing, products, food, etc.), whereas the well-off are socialized to believe it is both a right and a necessity for us to have more, to have exactly what we want when we want it.”—bell hooks, where we stand: Class Matters, chapter 4
“We have all heard the maxim "If you do not love yourself, you will be unable to love anyone else." It sounds good. Yet more often than not we feel some degree of confusion when we har this statement. The confusion arises because most people who think they are not lovable have this perception because at some point in their lives they were socialized to see themselves as unlovable by forces outside their control. We are not born knowing how to love anyone, either ourselves or somebody else. However, we are born able to respond to care. As we grow we can give and receive attention, affection, and joy. Whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment.”—Bell Hooks, All About Love
“Individual heterosexual women came to the movement from relationships where men were cruel, unkind, violent, unfaithful. Many of these men were radical thinkers who participated in movements for social justice, speaking out on behalf of the workers, the poor, speaking out on behalf of racial justice. However when it came to the issue of gender they were as sexist as their conservative cohorts.”—
This quote is never not relevant. Sexism maintains its threshold on all sides of the political spectrum.