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Black Looks: Race and Representation Paperback – 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0896084339 ISBN-10: 0896084337 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press; 1st edition (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896084337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896084339
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This latest collection from hooks ( Yearning ) contains a dozen recent essays on the representation of the African American experience, an area in which, she argues convincingly, little progress has been made. The author draws more effectively on her own experiences and sense of identity than do most other writers in the critical theory arena. Her gaze often falls on the ostensible recuperation of blackness into advertising, fashion and pop culture. She denounces white radicals' appropriation of an African American Other that revels in the oneness of a "primitive" people with nature. As she points out, the next step in that process is the commodification of the "primitive" by consumer culture. In other essays hooks offers brilliant analyses of the Hill-Thomas hearings and of Madonna, forcing readers to confront issues of race and representation that fans of the Material Girl would probably rather ignore and revealing the underlying reactionary bent of her music and videos. Equally striking is hooks's linkage of feminism and gay and lesbian liberation to black liberation, with a resulting rejection of a narrow and facile nationalism. Imbued with hooks's theoretical rigor, intellectual integrity, breadth of knowledge and passion, this book is a necessary read for anyone concerned with race in America.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Hooks continues to produce some of the most challenging, insightful, and provocative writing on race and gender in the United States today. In these new essays,the author/academician expands on a theme introduced in Breaking Bread with Cornel West ( LJ 12/91) and in earlier works: In a society that increasingly substitutes style for substance, how are the races represented to one another? Maintaining that white commodification cannibalizes African American culture, sell ing blacks a supermacho image that encourages violence and the subjugation of black women, hooks successfully confronts last fall's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, imperialist images in yuppie mail-order catalogs, Madonna's use of black signifiers, the curious color blindness of feminist film criticism, relations between blacks and Native Americans, and other original and important topics. Highly recommended.
- Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Until now I have only read excerpts from bell hooks' works. Then I recently saw a C-Span program in which bell hooks led a discussion with a college audience. Reminded of the intriguing excerpts I had read, I chose Black Looks as my first full encounter with this intriguing woman's thoughts.
I did not examine the readers' comments on Black Looks until completing the book, but I too would like to take the opportunity to give the book my whole-hearted endorsement for everyone's perusal.
Unlike the reader who began a review highlighting his leftist political affiliation and interracial marriage/family, I DO believe that this book was intended for that individual reader, as it was intended for me, a white female -- and for all men and women of all colors, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. One's skin color, (marriage) partner, children, class status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and gender, among many other characteristics, do not determine one's dedication to overcoming the racist, heterosexist, capitalist patriarchy. Indeed, I think that this idea is a theme running throughout Black Looks, as evidenced in bell hooks' essays on Clarence Thomas and Madonna.
I do not find incivility in bell hooks' thoughtful expressions and critiques. Rather, I find a much-needed naming of the incivilities that happen to people in this world, due to various "-ism"s and those who espouse them.
Complaints of "bias" or "slant" in bell hooks' essays and other works seem nonsensical to me, when I recall that no human being's thoughts, feelings, and perspective are "objective." Moreover, "objectivity" is not a quality that one desires in cultural criticism, which functions to set forth an alternative point of view that is so often silenced.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm biracial . . . my father is white and my mother is black, Latina, and Asian. hooks makes us look deeply and critically at the linkages of race, class, gender, and sexuality in ways that are painfully honest and moving. Oppression is never an easy topic. As she has stated, reading hooks' work should make us feel angry, sad, & uncomfortable. Finally, an intellectual who goes beyond the "taken-for-granted" simplistic non-analysis and makes us THINK DEEPLY! This book is a classic!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Provides a good explanation of how race is represented in America and the psychological impact it has on individuals. Great resource for the classroom
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More About the Author

Bell Hooks is a cultural critic, feminist theorist, and writer. Celebrated as one of our nation's leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly, as well as one of Utne Reader's 100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life, she is a charismatic speaker who divides her time among teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. Previously a professor in the English departments at Yale University and Oberlin College, hooks is now a Distinguished Professor of English at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of more than seventeen books, including All About Love: New Visions; Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work; Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life; Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood; Killing Rage: Ending Racism; Art on My Mind: Visual Politics; and Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life. She lives in New York City.

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