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bell hooks Quotes

bell hooks (1952 - )

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Feminist, writer, and educator bell hooks (she prefers the lower case spelling) is a social critic concerned with issues of sexism and racism.

Selected bell hooks Quotations

• If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching difference to privilege.

• If I were really asked to define myself, I wouldn't start with race; I wouldn't start with blackness; I wouldn't start with gender; I wouldn't start with feminism. I would start with stripping down to what fundamentally informs my life, which is that I'm a seeker on the path. I think of feminism, and I think of anti-racist struggles as part of it. But where I stand spiritually is, steadfastly, on a path about love.

• Love is an action, never simply a feeling.

• Justice demands integrity. It's to have a moral universe - not only know what is right or wrong but to put things in perspective, weigh things. Justice is different from violence and retribution; it requires complex accounting.

• I entered the classroom with the conviction that it was crucial for me and every other student to be an active participant, not a passive consumer...education as the practice of freedom.... education that connects the will to know with the will to become. Learning is a place where paradise can be created.

• If I do not speak in a language that can be understood there is little chance for a dialogue.

• Feminist education -- the feminist classroom -- is and should be a place where there is a sense of struggle, where there is visible acknowledgment of the union of theory and practice, where we work together as teachers and students to overcome the estrangement and alienation that have become so much the norm in the contemporary university.

• Given the way universities work to reinforce and perpetuate the status quo, the way knowledge is offered as commodity, Women's Studies can easily become the place where revolutionary feminist thought and feminist activism are submerged or made secondary to the goals of academic careerism.

• In a culture of domination, preoccupation with victimage is inevitable.

• Even the most subjected person has moments of rage and resentment so intense that they respond, they act against. There is an inner uprising that leads to rebellion, however short-lived. It may be only momentary but it takes place. That space within oneself where resistance is possible remains.

• As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.

• Since our society continues to be primarily a "Christian" culture masses of people continue to believe that god has ordained that women be subordinate to men in the domestic household.

• Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy -- 'to stand outside' -- comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away.

• Writing and performing should deepen the meaning of words, should illuminate, transfix and transform.

• 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.

• The overall impact of postmodernism is that many other groups now share with black folks a sense of deep alienation, despair, uncertainty, loss of sense of grounding even if it is not informed by shared circumstance.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "bell hooks Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/bell_hooks.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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