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Imagining the Possible - Poster of the Week

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

bell hooks (1952-2021), acclaimed social activist, feminist, poet, author, professor, and cultural critic died last week. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, she adopted her great grandmother’s name, Bell Blair Hooks, as her pen name, but used all lower case to focus on the work not the person. bell hooks identified as “queer-pas-gay” or “queer, not gay,” a more inclusive term for non-conforming sexualities and identities. Her work examined the connections between class, race, and gender, as well as love, sexuality, and community. She was influenced by and became friends with some of the greatest figures of our time, including Paulo Freire, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Maya Angelou. She was “committed to the struggle to end domination in all its forms,” and her words eloquently convey her passions and her beliefs.

“Language is a place of struggle.”

—“Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness,” in Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy, eds. Ann Garry and Marilyn Pearsall (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 48

“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?”

—From a conversation with Maya Angelou:

“I am passionate about everything in my life–first and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that’s a dangerous person to be in this society, not just because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.”

—Reel to Real: Race, Class and Sex at the Movies (ed. Routledge, 2009)

“True resistance begins with people confronting pain…and wanting to do something to change it.”

—Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (1999)

“We knew that there could be no real sisterhood between white women and women of color if white women were not able to divest of white supremacy.”

—Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (2000)

“Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.”

—All About Love (1999)

“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.”

—Source Unknown

“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 (South End Press, 1981)

bell hooks


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