Bell Hooks Quotes

Gloria Jean Watkins, recognized by her pseudonym bell hooks, was an American scholar, author, teacher, and cultural commentator who held the title of Distinguished Professor in Residence at Berea College. She gained prominence for her extensive work on subjects related to race, feminism, and socioeconomic class. Wikipedia

“The academy is not paradise. But learning is a place where paradise can be created.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet al the more astute theorists of love acknowledge that we would all love better if we used it as a verb.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Teachers of children see gender equality mostly in terms of ensuring that girls get to have the same privileges and rights as boys within the existing social structure; they do not see it in terms of granting boys the same rights as girls – for instance, the right to choose not to engage in aggressive or violent play, the right to play with dolls, to play dress up, to wear costumes of either gender, the right to choose.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they chose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The crisis facing men is not the crisis of masculinity, it is the crisis of patriarchal masculinity. Until we make this distinction clear, men will continue to fear that any critique of patriarchy represents a threat.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege. I want to live in a world where all women have access to education, and all women can earn PhD’s, if they so desire. Privilege does not have to be negative, but we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Hope is essential to any political struggle for radical change when the overall social climate promotes disillusionment and despair.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Lying has become so much the accepted norm that people lie even when it would be simpler to tell the truth.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When men and women punish each other for truth telling, we reinforce the notion that lies are better.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Writing and the hope of writing pulls me back from the edges of despair. I believe insanity and despair are at times one and the same.” ~ Bell Hooks

“My students tell me, we don’t want to love! We’re tired of being loving! And I say to them, if you’re tired of being loving, then you haven’t really been loving, because when you are loving you have more strength.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I think inequality is in our minds. I think this is what we learn through practice. The bridge of illusion must be shattered in order for a real bridge to be constructed. One of the things we learn is that inequality is an illusion.” ~ Bell Hooks

“All awakening to love is spiritual awakening.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Widespread cultural acceptance of lying is a primary reason many of us will never know love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We cannot teach boys that “real men” either do not feel or do not express feelings, then expect boys to feel comfortable getting in touch with their feelings.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom…” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The world would be a paradise of peace and justice if global citizens shared a common definition of love which would guide our thoughts and action.” ~ Bell Hooks

“By naming sexism as the problem it went directly to the heart of the matter. Practically, it is a definition which implies that all sexist thinking and action is the problem, whether those who perpetuate it are female or male, child or adult.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Language is also a place of struggle.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Living simply makes loving simple.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If we give our children sound self-love, they will be able to deal with whatever life puts before them.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In the dominator model the pursuit of external power, the ability to manipulate and control others, is what matters most. When culture is based on a dominator model, not only will it be violent but it will frame all relationships as power struggles.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Sexism has never rendered women powerless. It has either suppressed their strength or exploited it.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love empowers us to live fully and die well. Death becomes, then, not an end to life but a part of living.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Yesterday I was thinking about the whole idea of genius and creative people, and the notion that if you create some magical art, somehow that exempts you from having to pay attention to the small things.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Action, like a sacrament, is the visible form of an invisible spirit, an outward manifestation of an inward power.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The political core of any movement for freedom in the society has to have the political imperative to protect free speech.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Those of us who have already chosen to embrace a love ethic, know that when we let our light shine, we draw to us and are drawn to other bearers of light. We are not alone.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Self-acceptance is hard for many of us. There is a voice inside that is constantly judging, first ourselves and then others.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Often emphasis on identity and lifestyle is appealing because it creates a false sense that one is engaged in praxis. However, praxis within any political movement that aims to have a radical transformative impact on society cannot be solely focused on creating spaces wherein would-be radicals experience safety and support. Feminist movement to end sexist oppression actively engages participants in revolutionary struggle. Struggle is rarely safe or pleasurable.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is-it’s to imagine what is possible.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Stereotypes abound when there is distance. They are an invention, a pretense that one knows when the steps that would make real knowing possible cannot be taken or are not allowed.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we can see ourselves as we truly are and accept ourselves, we build on the necessary foundation for self-love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The need for instant gratification is a component of greed.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Of all the definitions of love that abound in our universe, a special favorite of mine is “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminist thinking teaches us all, especially, how to love justice and freedom in ways that foster and affirm life.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The true teacher is within us. A good teacher is someone who can help you to go back and touch the true teacher within, because you already have the insight within you.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching difference to privilege.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Only love can heal the wounds of the past. However, the intensity of our woundedness often leads to a closing of the heart, making it impossible for us to give or receive the love that is given to us.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands.” ~ Bell Hooks

“All the work I do is built on a foundation of loving-kindness. Love illuminates matters.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment. Self-love cannot flourish in isolation.” ~ Bell Hooks

“A good teacher is someone who can help you to get back to a teacher within.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To indoctrinate boys into the rules of patriarchy, we force them to feel pain and to deny their feelings.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The greatest movement for social justice our country has ever known is the civil rights movement and it was totally rooted in a love ethic.” ~ Bell Hooks

“So many people turn to spiritual thinking only when they experience difficulties, hoping that the sorrow or pain will just miraculously disappear. Usually, they find that the place of suffering – the place where we are broken in spirit, when accepted and embraced, is also a place of peace and possibility. Our sufferings do not magically end; instead we are able to wisely alchemically recycle them. They become the abundant waste that we use to make new growth possible.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The rage of the oppressed is never the same as the rage of the privileged.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Commitment to truth telling lays the groundwork for the openness and honesty that is the heartbeat of love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we are loving, we openly and honestly express care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Home was the place where I was forced to conform to someone else’s image of who and what I should be. School was the place where I could forget that self and, through ideas, reinvent myself. School.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The feminist call was for women to embrace ways of seeing beauty and adorning ourselves that are healthy, life-affirming, and not overly time-time consuming.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Without trust there can be no genuine intimacy and love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I celebrate teaching that enables transgressions – a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Spirituality and spiritual life give us the strength to love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I asked students once: “Why do you feel that the regard I extend to a particular student cannot also be extended to each of you? Why do you think there is not enough love or care to go around?” ~ Bell Hooks

“The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want to be.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we choose to love, we choose to move against fear, against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect, to find ourselves in the other.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we only name the problem, when we state complaint without a constructive focus or resolution, we take hope away. In this way critique can become merely an expression of profound cynicism, which then works to sustain dominator culture.” ~ Bell Hooks

“For black men of all ages it is more acceptable to express rage than to give voice to emotional needs.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Our hearts connect with lots of folks in a lifetime but most of us will go to our graves with no experience of true love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The men in my life have always been the folks who are wary of using the word ‘love’ lightly. They are wary because they believe women make too much of love. And they know that what we think love means is not always what they believe it means. Our confusion about what we mean when we use the word ‘love’ is the source of our difficulty in loving. If our society had a commonly held understanding of the meaning of love, the act of loving would not be so mystifying.” ~ Bell Hooks

“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. – bell hooks.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility.” ~ Bell Hooks

“There will be no mass-based feminist movement as long as feminist ideas are understood only by a well-educated few.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we are more energized by the practice of blaming than we are by efforts to create transformation, we not only cannot find relief from suffering, we are creating the conditions that help keep us stuck in the status quo.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Since we live in a society that promotes faddism and temporary superficial adaptation of different values, we are easily convinced that changes have occurred in arenas where there has been little or no change.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Isolation and loneliness are central causes of depression and despair.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we work with love we renew the spirit; that renewal is an act of self-love, it nurtures our growth.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To me, a woman can’t be a feminist just because she is a woman. She is a feminist because she begins to divest herself of sexist ways of thinking and revolutionizes her consciousness.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I think our culture doesn’t recognize passion, because real passion has the power to disrupt boundaries.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Often girls feel deeply cared about as small children but then find as we develop willpower and independent thought that the world stops affirming us, that we are seen as unlovable.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The wounded heart learns self-love by first overcoming low self-esteem.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Couples who rarely or never have sex can know lifelong love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we concentrate on photography, we make it possible to see the walls of photographs in black homes as a critical intervention, a disruption of white control over black images.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The capacity to love is tied to being able to be awake, to being able to move out of yourself and be with someone else in a manner that is not about your desire to possess them, but to be with them, to be in union and communion.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Individuals who want to believe that there is no fulfillment in love, that true love does not exist, cling to these assumptions because this despair is actually easier to face than the reality that love is a real fact of life but is absent from their lives.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Writing and performing should deepen the meaning of words, should illuminate, transfix and transform.” ~ Bell Hooks

“One of the things that we must do as teachers is twirl around and around, and find out what works with the situation that we’re in. Our models might not work. And that twirling, changing, is part of the empowerment.” ~ Bell Hooks

“True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Cultures of domination rely on the cultivation of fear as a way to ensure obedience.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Justice is possible without equality, I believe, because of compassion and understanding. If I have compassion, then if I have more than you, which is unequal, I will still do the just thing by you.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In a culture of domination, preoccupation with victimage is inevitable.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Only grown-ups think that the things children say come out of nowhere. We know they come from the deepest parts of ourselves.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Embracing love ethic means that we utilize all dimensions of love – “care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect and knowledge” – in our everyday lives.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To live fixated on the future is to engage in psychological denial. It is a form of psychic violence that prepares us to accept the violence needed to ensure the maintenance of imperialist, future-oriented society.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Multiculturalism compels educators to recognize the narrow boundaries that have shaped the way knowledge is shared in the classroom. It forces us all to recognize our complicity in accepting and perpetuating biases of any kind.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Sexism has always been a political stance mediating social domination, enabling white men and black men to share a common sensibility about sex roles and the importance of male domination.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To counter the fixation on a rhetoric of victimhood, black folks must engage in a discourse of self-determination.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To be loving is to be open to grief, to be touched by sorrow, even sorrow that is unending.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Boys need healthy self-esteem. They need love. And a wise and loving feminist politics can provide the only foundation to save the lives of male children. Patriarchy will not heal them.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Overall women in our society are forgetting the value and power of sisterhood. Renewed feminist movement must once again raise the banner high to proclaim anew “Sistehood is powerful.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Sadly, children’s passion for thinking often ends when they encounter a world that seeks to educate them for conformity and obedience only.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Men do not wound women only when they act violently and abusively. They wound us when they fail to protect our freedom in every aspect of our daily lives.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In an imperialist racist patriarchal society that supports and condones oppression, it is not surprising that men and women judge their worth, their personal power, by their ability to oppress others.” ~ Bell Hooks

“A male who has divested of male privilege, who has embraced feminist politics, is a worthy comrade in struggle, in no way a threat to feminism, whereas a female who remains wedded to sexist thinking and behavior infiltrating feminist movement is a dangerous threat.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Knowing love or the hope of knowing love is the anchor that keeps us from falling into that sea of despair.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When culture is based on a dominator model, not only will it be violent, but it will frame all relationships as power struggles.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We cannot know love if we remain unable to surrender our attachment to power, if any feeling of vulnerability strikes terror in our hearts. Lovelessness torments.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Representation is a crucial location of struggle for any exploited and oppressed people asserting subjectivity and decolonization of the mind.” ~ Bell Hooks

“No level of individual self-actualization alone can sustain the marginalized and oppressed. We must be linked to collective struggle, to communities of resistance that move us outward, into the world.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Who we are as African-Americans, as black folks in the diaspora, our cultural destiny, has been shaped by both the enslaved and the free.” ~ Bell Hooks

“But simply being the victim of an exploitative or oppressive system and even resisting it does not mean we understand why it’s in place or how to change it.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Imagine how much easier it would be for us to learn how to love if we began with a shared definition.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I often find it easier to be teaching or giving to others, and often struggle with the place of my own pleasure and joy.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I did not want to hear the pain of my male partner because hearing it required that I surrender my investment in the patriarchal ideal of the male as protector of the wounded. If he was wounded, then how could he protect me? As.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I think the truth is that finding ourselves brings more excitement and well-being than anything romance has to offer, and somewhere we know that.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Power feminism is just another scam in which women get to play patriarchs and pretend that the power we seek and gain liberates us.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When women with class power opportunistically use a feminist platform while undermining feminist politics that helps keep in place a patriarchal system that will ultimately re-subordinate them, they do not just betray feminism; they betray themselves.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Male fantasy is seen as something that can create reality, whereas female fantasy is regarded as pure escape.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Growing up is, at heart, the process of learning to take responsibility for whatever happens in your life. To choose growth is to embrace a love that heals.” ~ Bell Hooks

“All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity.” ~ Bell Hooks

“One of the most subversive institutions in the United States is the public library…” ~ Bell Hooks

“The most basic activism we can have in our lives is to live consciously in a nation living in fantasies. Living consciously is living with a core of healthy self-esteem. You will face reality, you will not delude yourself.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Once you do away with the idea of people as fixed, static entities, then you see that people can change, and there is hope.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love. There is no practitioner of love who deceives. Once the choice has been made to be honest, then the next step on love’s path is communication.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Many black men who express the greatest hostility toward the white male power structure are often eager to gain access to that power. Their expressions of rage and anger are less a critique of the white male patriarchal social order and more a reaction against the fact that they have not been allowed full participation in the power game.” ~ Bell Hooks

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: 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?” ~ Bell Hooks

“Being loving does not mean we will not be betrayed. Love helps up face betrayal without losing heart. And it renews our spirit so we can love again.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Without justice there can be no love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminism has never emerged from the women who are most victimized by sexist oppression; women who are daily beaten down, mentally, physically, and spiritually – women who are powerless to change their condition in life. They are a silent majority.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We often cause ourselves suffering by wanting only to live in a world of valleys, a world without struggle and difficulty, a world that is flat, plain, consistent.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I’ve written 18 books, mostly dealing with issues of social justice, ending racism, feminism, and cultural criticism.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Significantly, I am among those rare feminist theorists who believe that it is crucial for feminist movement to have as an overriding agenda ending all forms of violence.” ~ Bell Hooks

“You must have courage to love, you have to have a profound will to do what is right to love, and it does not come easy.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I learned then that it is more fulfilling to live one’s life within a circle of love, interacting with loved ones to whole we are committed.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I feel that my environment reflects my belief in the grace and art and elegance of living simply.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The power of patriarchy has been to make maleness feared and to make men feel that it is better to be feared that to be loved. Whether they can confess this or not, men know that just is not true.” ~ Bell Hooks

“What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we love children, we acknowledge by our every action that they are not property, that they have rights – that we respect and uphold their rights.” ~ Bell Hooks

“My focus has always been on the work – that work being critical thinking and writing. I am always doing that. That’s where I am, wherever I am. Critical thinking and writing as my heartbeat.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love is first and foremost exemplified by action – by practice – not solely by feeling.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The message received from the mass media is that knowledge makes love less compelling; that it is ignorance that gives love its erotic and transgressive edge.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Knowledge rooted in experience shapes what we value and as a consequence how we know what we know as well as how we use what we know.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When men lie to women, presenting a false self, the terrible price they pay to maintain “power over” us is the loss of their capacity to give and receive love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The transformative power of love is not fully embraced in our society because we often wrongly believe that torment and anguish are our ‘natural’ condition.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When angels speak of love they tell us it is only by loving that we enter an earthly paradise. They tell us paradise is our home and love our true destiny.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminist politics aims to end domination, to free us to be who we are – to live lives where we love justice, where we can live in peace. Feminism is for everybody.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In our rapidly changing society we can count on only two things that will never change. What will never change is the will to change and the fear of change. It is the will to change that motivates us to seek help. It is the fear of change that motivates us to resist the very help we seek. – Harriet Lerner, The Dance of Intimacy.” ~ Bell Hooks

“There is light in darkness, you just have to find it.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Like desire, language disrupts, refuses to be contained within boundaries.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another’s spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abusive cannot coexist. Abuse and neglect are, by definition, the opposites of nurturance and care.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If you do not know what you feel, then it is difficult to choose love; it is better to fall. Then you do not have to be responsible for your actions.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Class is rarely talked about in the United States; nowhere is there a more intense silence about the reality of class differences than in educational settings.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Whether we’re talking about race or gender or class, popular culture is where the pedagogy is, it’s where the learning is.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Materialism creates a world of narcissism in which the focus of life is solely on acquisition and consumption.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In popular culture love is always the stuff of fantasy. Maybe this is why men have done most of the theorizing about love. Fantasy has primarily been their domain, both in the sphere of cultural production and in everyday life. Male fantasy is seen as something that can create reality, whereas female fantasy is regarded as pure escape.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love and abuse cannot co-exist.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Echoing the work of Erich Fromm, he defines love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If Black women stand strong and our commitment is to ending domination I know that I’m supporting Black males, Black children male and female Black elderly because the bottom line is the struggle to end domination in all its forms.” ~ Bell Hooks

“People with healthy self-esteem do not need to create pretend identities.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminism is a struggle to end sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Our freedom is sweet. It will be sweeter when we are all free.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We judge on the basis of what somebody looks like, skin color, whether we think they’re beautiful or not. That space on the Internet allows you to converse with somebody with none of those things involved.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Patriarchy has no gender.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To be truly visionary we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality.” ~ Bell Hooks

“But love is really more of an interactive process. It’s about what we do not just what we feel. It’s a verb, not a noun.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Part of the racialized sexism wants everyone to think that a 15-year old Mexican is not a girl, she’s a woman. We know she’s a girl. We can never emphasize this enough, because this is the fate of colored girls globally right now: the denial of their girlhood, the denial of their childhood, and the constant state of risk and danger they are living in.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Whenever domination is present, love is lacking.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Imagine living in a world where there is no domination, where females and males are not alike or even always equal, but where a vision of mutuality is the ethos shaping our interaction.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Redeemed and restored, love returns us to the promise of everlasting life. When we love we can let our hearts speak.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I think Black people need to take self-esteem seriously.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Most of us did not learn when we were young that our capacity to be self-loving would be shaped by the work we do and whether that work enhances our well-being.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The challenge these days, is to be somewhere, to belong to some particular place, invest oneself in it, draw strength and courage from it, to dwell in a community.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Death is with you all the time; you get deeper in it as you move towards it, but it’s not unfamiliar to you. It’s always been there, so what becomes unfamiliar to you when you pass away from the moment is really life.” ~ Bell Hooks

“It is crucial for the future of the Black liberation struggle that we remain ever mindful that ours is a shared struggle, that we are each other’s fate.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I’m so disturbed when my women students behave as though they can only read women, or black students behave as though they can only read blacks, or white students behave as though they can only identify with a white writer.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Unfortunately, our over-emphasis on the male as oppressor often obscures the fact that men too are victimized. To be an oppressor is dehumanizing and anti-human in nature, as it is to be a victim. Patriarchy forces fathers to act as monsters, encourages husbands and lovers to be rapists in disguise; it teaches our blood brothers to feel ashamed that they care for us, and denies all men the emotional life that would act as a humanizing, self-affirming force in their lives.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Education as the practice of freedom affirms healthy selfesteem in students as it promotes their capacity to be aware and live consciously. It teaches them to reflect and act in ways that further self-actualization, rather than conformity to the status quo.” ~ Bell Hooks

“How different things might be if, rather than saying “I think I’m in love,” we were saying “I’ve connected with someone in a way that makes me think I’m on the way to knowing love… ” Or if instead of saying “I am in love” we said “I am loving” or “I will love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment… ‘dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love – which is to transform us.’ Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To be true to patriarchy we are all taught that we must keep men’s secrets.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.” ~ Bell Hooks

“It is far easier to talk about loss than it is to talk about love. It is easier to articulate the pain of love’s absence than to describe its presence and meaning in our lives.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Its aim is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any particular race or class of women. It does not privilege women over men. It has the power to transform meaningfully all our lives.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We make the revolutionary history, telling the past as we have learned it mouth-to-mouth, telling the present as we see, know, and feel it in our heats and with our words.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The practice of love is the most powerful antidote to the politics of domination.” ~ Bell Hooks

“My belief that God is love, that love is everything – our true destiny – sustains me.” ~ Bell Hooks

“A generous heart is always open, always ready to receive our going and coming. In the midst of such love we need never fear abandonment. This is the most precious gift true love offers – the experience of knowing we always belong.” ~ Bell Hooks

“All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way.” ~ Bell Hooks

“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.” ~ Bell Hooks

“As long as women are using class or race power to dominate other women, feminist sisterhood cannot be fully realized.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Shaming is one of the deepest tools of imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy because shame produces trauma and trauma often produces paralysis.” ~ Bell Hooks

“A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference, of any kind, will appear as a threat.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I came to theory because I was hurting – the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living. I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend – to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I saw in theory then a location for healing.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The world demands that you work for it, make families, provide, take no time to listen to your own heart beating.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Refusal to stand up for what you believe in weakens individual morality and ethics as well as those of the culture.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Young people are cynical about love. Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Changing how we see images is clearly one way to change the world.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I get so tired of people acting like, you know, black men and women never help each other, never support each other.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The choice to love is a choice to connect – to find ourselves in the other.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Feminist pedagogy can only be liberatory if it is truly revolutionary because the mechanisms of appropriation within white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy are able to co-opt with tremendous ease that which merely appears radical or subversive.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If you’re in a domestic situation where the man is violent, patriarchy and male domination – even though you understand it intersectionally – you focus, you highlight that dimension of it, if that’s what is needed to change the situation.” ~ Bell Hooks

“It’s in the act of having to do things that you don’t want to that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To be oppressed means to be deprived of your ability to choose.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment.” ~ Bell Hooks

“What we cannot imagine cannot come into being.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The soul of our politics is the commitment to ending domination.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Through the practice of compassion and forgiveness, I was able to sustain my appreciation for her work and cope with the grief and disappointment I felt about the loss of this relationship. Practicing compassion enabled me to understand why she might have acted as she did and to forgive her. Forgiving means that I am able to see her as a member of my community still, one who has a place in my heart should she wish to claim it.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Loving friendships provide us with a space to experience the joy of community in a relationship where we learn to process all our issues, to cope with differences and conflict while staying connected.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Women talk about love. From girlhood on, we learn that conversations about love are a gendered narrative, a female subject… Femaleness in patriarchal culture marks us from the very beginning as unworthy or not as worthy, and it should come as no surprise that we learn to worry most as girls, as women, about whether we are worthy of love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I began writing a book on love because I felt that the United States is moving away from love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I feel like there is always something trying to pull us back into sleep, that there is this sort of seductive quality in all the hedonistic pleasures that pull on us.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Few people who are hit once by someone they love respond in the way they might to a singular physical assault by a stranger.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Remember, care is a dimension of love, but simply giving care does not mean we are loving.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Within a capitalist consumer society, the cult of personality has the power to subsume ideas, to make the person, the personality into the product and not the work itself.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Indeed, men who feel, who love, often hide their emotional awareness from other men for fear of being attacked and shamed. This is the big secret we all keep together – the fear of patriarchal maleness that binds everyone in our culture. We cannot love what we fear. That is why so many religious traditions teach us that there is no fear in love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood on that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Giving generously in romantic relationships, and in all other bonds, means recognizing when the other person needs our attention. Attention is an important resource.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I’m tired of the naked, raped, beaten black woman body. I want to see an image of black femaleness that alters our universe in some way.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In truth, true love is all about work.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Shame produces trauma. Trauma produces paralysis.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Living by a love ethic we learn to value loyalty and a commitment to sustained bonds over material advancement.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Reviewing the literature on love I noticed how few writers, male or female, talk about the impact of patriarchy, the way in which male domination of women and children stands in the ways of love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Being oppressed means the absence of choices.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Yearning is the word that best describes a common psychological state shared by many of us, cutting across boundaries of race, class, gender, and sexual practice.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The search for love continued even in the face of great odds.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Because we have learned to believe negativity is more realistic, it appears more real than any positive voice.” ~ Bell Hooks

“To love somebody is not just a strong feeling – it’s a decision, it’s a judgement, it’s a promise.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Since loving is about knowing, we have more meaningful love relationships when we know each other and it takes time to know each other.” ~ Bell Hooks

“In patriarchal culture males are not allowed simply to be who they are and to glory in their unique identity. Their value is always determined by what they do. In an antipatriarchal culture males do not have to prove their value and worth. They know from birth that simply being gives them value, the right to be cherished and loved. I.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Many spiritual teachers – in Buddhism, in Islam – have talked about first-hand experience of the world as an important part of the path to wisdom, to enlightenment.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When men lie to women, presenting a false self, the terrible price they pay to maintain “power over” us is the loss of their capacity to give and receive love. Trust is the foundation of intimacy. When lies erode trust, genuine connection cannot take place. While men who dominate others can and do experience ongoing care, they place a barrier between themselves and the experience of love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin.” ~ Bell Hooks

“And if one’s goal is self-recovery, to be well in one’s soul, honesty and realistically confronting loneliness is party of the healing process.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I’m such a girl for the living room. I really like to stay in my nest and not move. I travel in my mind, and that that’s a rigorous state of journeying for me. My body isn’t that interested in moving from place to place.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully claim to be loving when behaving abusively.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If only one party in the relationship is working to create love, to create the space of emotional connection, the dominator model remains in place and the relationship just becomes a site for continuous power struggle.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Trust is the heartbeat of genuine love. And we trust that the attention our partners give friends, or vice versa, does not take anything away from us – we are not diminished. What we learn through experience is that our capacity to establish deep and profound connections in friendship strengthens all our intimate bonds.” ~ Bell Hooks

“No wonder then that male rage is often most directed at women in intimate relationships. Such relationships clearly trigger for many males the anger and rage they felt in childhood when their mothers did not protect them or ruthlessly severed emotional bonds in the name of patriarchy.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We use the word love in such a sloppy way that it can mean almost nothing or absolutely everything.” ~ Bell Hooks

“There can be no love without justice. Until we live in a culture that no only respects but also upholds basic civil rights for children, most children will not know love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Both men and women remain in dysfunctional, loveless relationships when it is materially opportune.” ~ Bell Hooks

“I think the number one thing Black women and all Black people should be paying attention to is our health.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We are often taught we have no control over our “feelings.” Yet most of us accept that we choose our actions, that intention and will inform what we do. We also accept that our actions have consequences.” ~ Bell Hooks

“When we see love as the will to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love in our life is the same. There is no special love exclusively reserved for romantic partners. Genuine love is the foundation of our engagement with ourselves, with family, with friends, with partners, with everyone we choose to love.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Love is an action, never simply a feeling.” ~ Bell Hooks

“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression. I liked this definition because it does not imply that men were the enemy.” ~ Bell Hooks

“We have to constantly critique imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.” ~ Bell Hooks

“If I do not speak in a language that can be understood there is little chance for a dialogue.” ~ Bell Hooks

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