Tag Archives: American philosophy

RIP bell hooks (1952 – 2021)

bell hooks was an American author and social activist, working in the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender.

bell hooks interviewed by Charlie Rose in 1995

She is perhaps best known for Ain’t I a Woman?(1981).

I first came into contact with her work by way of Angry Women (1991), a book in the RE/Search series.

She also wrote on Paris Is Burning (1990) in a vocabulary typical of her corpus:

“Within white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy the experience of men dressing as women, appearing in drag, has always been regarded by the dominant heterosexist cultural gaze as a sign that one is symbolically crossing over from a realm of power into a realm of powerlessness.”

bell hooks on Paris is Burning in a piece published in Black Hooks (1992)

Each of these words, white, supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal, hetero-sexist sounds as meaningful and portentous as vacuous and meaningless. It is a description of a state of affairs that betrays a desire for change. The form of this change, however, is not spelled out. Would bell hooks prefer communism instead of capitalism?

Nevertheless, looking at old interviews on Charlie Rose, bell hooks comes across as a gentle, well-read and smart woman.