bell hooks, Black Feminist Scholar and Intellectual Giant, Has Died

Bell hooks, a giant in Black feminist thought and thought, died December 15 at her home in Berea in Kentucky. Her writings are a foundational part of contemporary movements for justice. They have opened many doors in radical thought on race and gender, and other forms oppression.

Gwenda Motley’s sister claims that hooks were the cause of her death. renal failure. The author and intellectual was surroundedShe was surrounded by her family and friends when she died. She was 69.

hooks’s seminal works, such as Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and FeminismHave blazed a trailFor third-wave feministism and intersectionality Ain’t I A Woman, which was published 40 years ago this year and inspired by Sojourner Truth’s speech of the same name, discussed the conditions faced by Black women in mainstream feminist movements that ignored them in favor of white supremacy and middle-class politics.

Hooks redefined feminism as more expansive and radical. “Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression,” she wroteIn Feminist Theory: Margin to Center. In Feminist Theory, she criticized liberal groups for promoting definitions of feminism that sought only to make women equal to men — despite the fact that some men, too, experience forms of oppression.

Hooks was born in the deeply segregated South, in 1952 in Hopkinsville (Kentucky). She wrote about capitalism and slaveryThis has laid the foundation for the mistreatment and abuse of Black women in society. She also wrote about Black people’s ability to assert their self-determination in a society that seeks control and suppression of individualism.

She wrote extensively about love as a collective and individual practice — one that is antithetical to domination, and can propel society and progressive movements toward liberation.

In her 2000 book All About Love: The New Visions, hooks wrote,

Our struggle for self-determination is only possible if we talk about love. Love is the only foundation that will allow us to persevere through the hardships, wars, sickness, and death while keeping our spirits intact. It is love which allows us to live whole.

Love must be radically understood as a tool to empower oppressed peoples, with hooks being emphasized. As adrienne Maree Brown wrote. Truthout, drawing upon hooks’s work, it is impossible to Send your love toA nation that seeks out to marginalize its nonwhite, non-wealthy community; instead, the Left must dispel notions of love that are transactional and based upon oppressive power dynamics.

Many feminists and progressive thinkers today have championed hooks to lay the foundation for their radical work. We Do This ‘Til We Free UsMariame Kaba, author, is one example. has credited hooksFor helping her to see the intersections of race and gender. Other writers have similarly said that hooks’s work was crucial to their intellectual development.

“For me, reading ‘Ain’t I A Woman’ was as if someone had opened the door, the windows, and raised the roof in my mind,” wrote journalist and author Min Jin Lee, who took a class taught by hooks at Yale University in 1987 and was inspired to seek out her work even though hooks herself didn’t assign it:

[F]or me, a Korean girl born in a divided country once led by kings and colonizers, then a succession presidents who were more than a few dictators and for millenniums that had enforced rigid classes with slaves and serfs up until the early 20th Century, and where women of all classes were deeply abused and brutalized, I needed a place to see that the movement had a place for me.

Hooks are also frequently used Engaged in Cultural Criticism, and in recent decades, she has criticised pop culture figures and modern movements for their unidimensional understanding of race, gender, oppression, and other forms. She believed that engaging pop cultureIt was essential for critical thinking to progress.

As progressive communities honor grieve hooksThese are her words about grief. from All About LoveThis is an instructive example:

Loving is to be open to loss, to feel the pain of sorrow, and to accept it all. How we grieve depends on how we feel about love. Loving allows us to let go of fear and it guides our grief. We can grieve the loss of someone we love without shame. Because love is a commitment, those who love must keep ties in all aspects of life and death. The act of grieving and letting go of loved ones is a sign of our commitment, communication, and communion.