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Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics Paperback – July 1, 1999
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Praise for the book:
"For hooks, radical cultural criticism is rooted in a commitment to black liberation struggle. She examines representations of black people and black life in literature and popular culture to understand how such representations enhance and undermine the capacity of African-Americans to determine their own fate. She focuses, in particular, on the ways in which such representations work to either enslave or liberate blacks, reinforce or challenge racism in whites, and sustain or subvert white supremacy. She also remains critical of the ways in which both women's liberation and black liberation continue to be practiced as if black women did not exist." ―Clifford L. Staples, Postmodern Culture (1992)--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
A cultural critic, an intellectual, and a feminist writer, bell hooks is best known for classic books including Ain’t I a Woman, Bone Black, All About Love, Rock My Soul, Belonging, We Real Cool, Where We Stand, Teaching to Transgress, Teaching Community, Outlaw Culture, and Reel to Real. hooks is Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, and resides in her home state of Kentucky.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
there are others that become family members; books that stay with one throughout longines of suffering;
words from the author stoicly holding up the soul when one doesn't have the strength
~ this book lives by my nightstand; the words from bell hooks essay, "Choosing the margin,"
found me when i was an undergraduate and struggling; struggling with figuring out how to write
moreso; how exactly to write the truth in front of everybody; how to look people in the eye; and still,
write the truth; it is a painful undertaking; this writing of the truth in front of everybody; this essay
will teach a writer more than any lecture on learning to live within
the safe language space; it will speak to the intellectual who is figuring out still,
how to say it;
how to make it look good and feel good and taste good; there is no way to do this; and in a radical
chess move, ms. hooks writes as if to say there is a better way to keep the flame of your soul alive
learn to reside within the margin space ; learn to live within the group, by living on the outside, refuse to
inside the circle ; refuse
to become one who agrees to everything ; stay here in this radical space ; this
margin ; will sustain you ; by living within the margin ; this is where you will begin to thrive ;
call bell hooks radical call her racist call her what you will but she too, has mastered living in the margins
and this is where she will thrive and survive this is the great open radical space where no one can touch her ;
she is ultimately
one of the worlds purest forms
of greatness ;
i admire her ; and i cherish
nearly every single thing she ever writes ;
It is possible that Hooks uses inflammatory language with intention. Her overarching purpose seems to be to rekindle black solidarity in order to complete movement toward racial freedom and equality. This goal is laudable, but I find it easier to support Hooks when she rephrases this goal outside of racial class conflict. She advocates for control of one's destiny, self-actualization, community, and integrity of being, but she does not seem to realize that these are the yearnings of all humanity, not simply American blacks.
American culture, perhaps every human culture, is hierarchical. Even whites must deal with the "oppression" of those higher in the structure. Continued fracturing of middle and lower levels of the social structure along racial lines merely diffuses the power innate to each social class. Coalitions across racial, religious, and ethnic barriers are needed to compete with the hegemonic power of the social elites. Hooks passionate voice may actually work to maintain the secondary status of black Americans by making such coalitions more difficult.
I find two additional inconsistencies in Hooks message. First, she advocates solidarity and self-actualization, but I cannot help but wonder if these two goals can be harmonized. Secondly, I believe she is guilty of baseline distortion in her assumption of hopelessness as the black cultural norm. This implied victimization is self-defeating, and seems to deny the tremendous advances black Americans have made educationally and economically in the last twenty years.
It is possible that America needs to be continually confronted lest we become complacent in the progress we have made toward an egalitarian ideal. If so, Hooks' voice should be heard. But make no mistake about it, Hooks is not a voice of calm reason and balanced reflection. She writes from the fringes where ideals shine so brightly that the merest hint of a blemish is magnified.