Bell Hooks: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword for Intellectual Revolution

Category: Bell Hooks, Feminism, Sexism
Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
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She is proud to call herself as “Black woman intellectual, revolutionary activist. ” Not a firebrand revolutionary, who ‘wields the gun’, but an individual who sits across the table with paper and pen to kindle intellectual revolution! Bell Hooks belongs to the later category and she has proved how indeed the pen is mightier than the sword. She has thrown light on many forms of racialism, open and with a hidden agenda. For the prevailing, pathetic conditions of the Black Women, she does not blame the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” alone.

She takes the cudgels against the Black liberation struggle and the mainstream Feminist movement. She is aware of the strength of her opinions and has succeeded in creating the impact by using the electronic media—she has appeared on televisions, participated in the radio programs. She is interested in interacting with the intellectual class, but she is highly concerned to reach the common man. Therefore she says, “We are looking at a culture where millions of people don’t read or write.

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” She has thankfully used the mass media for propagating what she believed to be the truth, at the same time she has not spared it, for the dubious roles they play in many situations to promote racism and sexism. Growth-the socio-spiritual Bell Hook: She imbibed the poet’s idealism by extensively reading poets like William Wordsworth, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Gwendolyn Brooks, right from childhood. The fervor and emotions in her talks and writing may be due to the benevolent influence of the literature of such poets.

Each and every molecule of her body and spirit seems to have been surcharged with idealism. This apart, the practical, hard experiences of her life have made her a die-hard realist. “She wrote in Sisters of the Yam that life in her community involved ‘an ever-present and deep engagement with the mystical dimensions of Christian faith’ and that, ‘despite the sexism of that segregated Black world, the world of spirituality was one where Black women teachers, preachers, and healers worked with as much skill, power, and second sight as their Black male comrades. ’(Article, Black…. )

Bell Hooks is an original thinker and she is willing to challenge any set-up that gives the secondary status to the Black Women. She doesn’t wish the black women to be followers, howsoever bright may be their ideas for emancipation of the women. She wishes black women to be first among the equals. She is ever ready to fight false representations. She emphasizes how race and class play as big as a role as gender—and vividly draws picture of the subordination of poor and non-white women. To argue her points, she takes the case-studies from the most unexpected place-her own personal experiences and examples.

She knows how bitter the bark is, because she has been compelled to chew its juice! Her main grouse and concern is about the fear of the black people. The psychological suffering of the black people is more important for her than their economic plight. Are the Blacks inferiors to the white people? Such a dangerous and humiliating thinking regarding the Blacks, deeply worries her to the core. She wishes for a social response from the whites, where one can feel the genuine changes in their thought process.

Only when their thoughts are changed, their minds will change. When the minds change, the men will change. When men change, the society also changes. When society changes for the better, one can expect the genuine, humane changes in America, as for relationship between Whites and Blacks. “Black women have often turned to drugs and alcohol rather than acknowledge their need for viable support systems. …. When wounded individuals come together in groups to make change, our collective struggle is often undermined by all that has not been dealt with emotionally.

"(Article, Black…) Here, Bell Hooks speaks as if she has donned the mantle of a revolutionary trade union leader! But again she defends her line of action a novel way. She is not happy with the word struggle. She terms it caring, loving, and flourishing. With such fine inspiring expressions, Bell appeals to the head and heart of the Black populace. She proclaims that participation in action with cheer is better than withdrawal and renunciation of action for self-development. "My idea of a delicious time is to read a book that is wonderful.

And then I have the usual passions: romance, fashion…I'm a big fashion girl. And I'm really into art and deeply into culture. I am passionate about living my life with a certain quality of elegance and grace. But the ruling passion of my life is being a seeker after truth and the divine. That tempers everything else. " (Article, Black…) She speaks with the authority of a genuine spiritual leader. Only those individuals, who are internally strong and morally correct, can be that philosophical and practical.

She is on the threshold of the mind-barrier and she will experience the divine once she transcends it. She has the makings of an international socio-spiritual leader. Bell Hooks and gangsta rap: As for her programs, Bell Hooks is intensely liked or bitterly hated. Having once invited for any lecture assignment/interview, she doesn’t get repeat invitations. It is the ‘reward’ for her bitter criticism of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. She says, “To white dominated mass media, the controversy over gangsta rap makes great spectacle.

Besides the exploitation of these issues to attract audiences, a central motivation for highlighting gangsta rap continues to be the sensationalist drama of demonizing black youth culture in general and the contributions of young black men in particular…... When I counter this deionization of black males by insisting that gangsta rap does not appear in a cultural vacuum, but, rather, is expressive of the cultural crossing, mixings, and engagement of black youth culture with the values, attitudes, and concerns of the white majority, some folks stop listening.

” (McGee, 1994) Conclusion: Bell Hooks speaks with lots of conviction, and says in clear terms what is the mission of her life. She cautions the Black Women and warns about the dangers ahead. She hits out at the black males as well, for their betrayal for the genuine cause of welfare of the black race. She doesn’t spare anyone including the Clinton administration, when she says, “Feminist critiques of the sexism and misogyny in gangsta rap, and in all aspects of popular culture, must continue to be bold and fierce.

Black females must not be duped into supporting shit that hurts us under the guise of standing beside our men. If black men are betraying us through acts of male violence, we save ourselves and the race by resisting. Yet, our feminist critiques of black male sexism fail as meaningful political intervention if they seek to demonize black males, and do not recognize that our revolutionary work is to transform white supremacist capitalist patriarchy in the multiple areas of our lives where it is made manifest, whether in gangsta rap, the black church, or the Clinton administration.

” (Article, 1994) ========= References Cited: Article: Black woman, Intellectual, Revolutionary Activist-Bell Hooks: ... www. allaboutbell. com - 7k McGee, Arthur R. Article: Race & Ethnicity: hooks: Misogyny, Gangsta... (March 9, 1994). .. race. eserver. org/misogyny. html - 28k - Article: Bell Hooks - Misogyny, gangsta rap, and The Piano. Z Magazine, February 1994 ... www. allaboutbell. com/Misogyny. htm - 22k -

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Bell Hooks: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword for Intellectual Revolution. (2016, Jul 27). Retrieved from

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