Home Health A life in quotes: bell hooks – The Guardian

A life in quotes: bell hooks – The Guardian

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The groundbreaking feminist critic, poet, and intellectual on love, feminism, patriarchy, white supremacy, forgiveness and the power of art
Last modified on Thu 16 Dec 2021 16.40 GMT
bell hooks, the feminist author, poet, theorist and cultural critic, has died at the age of 69 at her 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’s a handful of her most memorable quotes:

The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must 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 solitary 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 liberate ourselves and others.
– Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, 1994
To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.
– Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, 2003
Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out 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
It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term ‘feminism’, to focus on the fact that to be ‘feminist’ in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.
– Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, 1981
If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.
– Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000
No Black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much’. Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’ … No woman has ever written enough.”
– Remembered Rapture: The Writer At Work, 1999
We continue to put in place the anti-sexist thinking and practice which affirms the reality that females can achieve self-actualization and success without dominating one another.”
– Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000
Marginality [is] much more than a site of deprivation. In fact I was saying just the opposite: that it is also the site of radical possibility, a space of resistance.
Marginality As a Site of Resistance, 1990
Understanding marginality as position and place of resistance is crucial for oppressed, exploited, colonized people. If we only view the margin as sign, marking the condition of our pain and deprivation, then a certain hopelessness and despair, a deep nihilism penetrates in a destructive way the very ground of our being. It is there in that space of collective despair that one’s creativity, one’s imagination is at risk, there that one’s mind is fully colonized, there that the freedom one longs for is lost.
– Marginality as a Site of Resistance, 1990
All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity.
– Killing Rage: Ending Racism, 1995
We can’t combat white supremacy unless we can teach people to love justice. You have to love justice more than your allegiance to your race, sexuality and gender. It is about justice.
interview with Jet Magazine, 2013
The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power 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, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society – because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not.
– Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000
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?
in conversation with Maya Angelou, 1998
The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.
– Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, 2012


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