100+ Best Bell Hooks Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks, is an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. Profoundly inspirational bell hooks quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for quotes by prominent activists that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Coretta Scott King, best Dorothy Day quotes and greatest Elizabeth Cady Stanton quotes.

Famous Bell Hooks Quotes

The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom. – 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

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

In 2014, when Hillary Clinton was not yet running for president, I stated that I was not in agreement with her politics. More recently, when asked my thoughts about Hillary Clinton during a public conversation with Gloria Steinem, I stated, she embodies the very best of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t vote for her. – Bell Hooks

What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe. – 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

Any black person who clings to the misguided notion that white people represent the embodiment of all that is evil and black people all that is good remains wedded to the very logic of Western metaphysical dualism that is the heart of racist binary thinking. Such thinking is not liberatory. Like the racist educational ideology, it mirrors and imitates, it invites a closing of the mind. – Bell Hooks

as females in a patriarchal culture, we were not slaves of love; most of us were and are slaves of longing yearning for a master who will set us free and claim us because we cannot claim ourselves – 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

Any woman who wishes to be an intellectual, to write non-fiction, to deal with theory, faces a lot of discrimination coming her way and perhaps even self-doubt because there aren’t that many who’ve gone before you. And I think that the most powerful tool we can have is to be clear about our intent. To know what it is we want to do rather than going into institutions thinking that the institution is going to frame for 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

Feminism is for everybody. – Bell Hooks

One of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone. – Bell Hooks

My hope emerges from those places of struggle where I witness individuals positively transforming their lives and the world around them. Educating is a vocation rooted in hopefulness. As teachers we believe that learning is possible, that nothing can keep an open mind from seeking after knowledge and finding a way to know. – Bell Hooks

Love is an action, never simply a feeling. – Bell Hooks

Women are often belittled for trying to resurrect these men and bring them back to life and to love. They are in a world that would be even more alienated and violent if caring women did not do the work of teaching men who have lost touch with themselves how to love again. This labor of love is futile only when the men in question refuse to awaken, refuse growth. At this point it is a gesture of self-love for women to break their commitment and move on. – Bell Hooks

Acts of appropriation are part of the process by which we make ourselves. Appropriating – taking something for one’s own use need not be synonymous with exploitation. This is especially true of cultural appropriation. The use one makes of what is appropriated is the crucial factor. – 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

The fierce willingness to repudiate domination in a holistic manner is the starting point for progressive cultural revolution. – Bell Hooks

Since the notion that we should all forsake attachment to race and/or cultural identity and be just humans within the framework of white supremacy has usually meant that subordinate groups must surrender their identities, beliefs, values, and assimilate by adopting the values and beliefs of privileged-class whites, rather than promoting racial harmony this thinking has created a fierce cultural protectionism. – 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

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

True resistance begins with people confronting pain and wanting to do something to change it. – 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

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

The struggle to end sexist oppression that focuses on destroying the cultural basis for such domination strengthens other liberation struggles. Individuals who fight for the eradication of sexism without struggles to end racism or classism undermine their own efforts. Individuals who fight for the eradication of racism or classism while supporting sexist oppression are helping to maintain the cultural basis of all forms of group oppression. – Bell Hooks

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

Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books. – Bell Hooks

Without justice there can be no love. – Bell Hooks

Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue. – 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

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

The soul of our politics is the commitment to ending domination. – 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

All of us in the academy and in the culture as a whole are called to renew our minds if we are to transform educational institutions-and society-so that the way we live, teach, and work can reflect our joy in cultural diversity, our passion for justice, and our love of freedom. – Bell Hooks

Secrets find a way out in sleep. It is the place where there is no pretense. – 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

What we cannot imagine cannot come into being. – Bell Hooks

The practice of love is the most powerful antidote to the politics of domination. – 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 would also say that, in practice, many more Americans are anarchists than would ever use that term. – 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

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

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

Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community. – Bell Hooks

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

The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. – Bell Hooks

It is necessary to remember, as we think critically about domination, that we all have the capacity to act in ways that oppress, dominate, wound (whether or not that power is institutionalized). It is necessary to remember that it is first the potential oppressor within that we must resist the potential victim within that we must rescue – otherwise we cannot hope for an end to domination, for liberation. – Bell Hooks

When women and men understand that working to eradicate patriarchal domination is a struggle rooted in the longing to make a world where everyone can live fully and freely, then we know our work to be a gesture of love. Let us draw upon that love to heighten our awareness, deepen our compassion, intensify our courage and strengthen our commitment. – Bell Hooks

Young people are cynical about love. Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart. – 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

schools for love do not exist. everyone assumes that we will know how to love instinctively. despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we still accept that the family is the primary school for love. those of us who do not learn how to love among family are expected to experience love in romantic relationships. however, this love often eludes us. – Bell Hooks

In order for me to engage in a revolutionary struggle for collective Black self-determination, I have to engage feminism because that becomes the vehicle by which I project myself as a female into the heart of the struggle, but the heart of the struggle does not begin with feminism. It begins with an understanding of domination and with a critique of domination in all its forms. – Bell Hooks

Whenever domination is present, love is lacking. – 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

One of the most subversive institutions in the United States is the public library. – 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

No other group in America has so had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women… When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women. – 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

I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not. – Bell Hooks

As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media. – Bell Hooks

Women have endeavored to guide men to love because patriarchal thinking has sanctioned this work even as it has undermined it by teaching men to refuse guidance…A useful gift all love’s practitioners can give is the offering of forgiveness. It not only allows us to move away from blame, from seeing others as the cause of our sustained lovelessness, but it enables us to experience agency, to know we can be responsible for giving and finding love. – 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

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

All efforts at self-transformation challenge us to engage in on-going, critical self-examination and reflection about feminist practice, and about how we live in the world. This individual commitment, when coupled with engagement in collective discussion, provides a space for critical feedback which strengthens our efforts to change and make ourselves anew. – Bell Hooks

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

Being oppressed means the absence of choices – 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

The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization. – Bell Hooks

I mostly want to remind her of the recipes of healing and give her my own made-on-the spot remedy for the easing of her pain. I tell her, Get a pen. Stop crying so you can write this down and start working on it tonight. My remedy is long. But the last item on the list says: When you wake up and find yourself living someplace where there is nobody you love and trust, no community, it is time to leave town – to pack up and go (you can even go tonight). And where you need to go is any place where there are arms that can hold you, that will not let you go. – Bell Hooks

I entered the classroom with the conviction that it was crucial for me and every other student to be an active participant, not a passive consumer…education as the practice of freedom…. education that connects the will to know with the will to become. Learning is a place where paradise can be created. – 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

Living simply makes loving simple. – Bell Hooks

The intellectual tradition of the West is very individualistic. It’s not community based. The intellectual is often thought of as a person who is alone and cut off from the world. So, I have had to practice being willing to leave the space of my study to be in community, to work in community, and to be changed by community. – Bell Hooks

We fear that evaluating our needs and then carefully choosing partners will reveal that there is no one for us to love. Most of us prefer to have a partner who is lacking than no partner at all. What becomes apparent is that we may be more interested in finding a partner than in knowing love. – Bell Hooks

I always tell my students that Malcolm X came both to his spirituality and to his consciousness as a thinker when he had solitude to read. Unfortunately, tragically, like so many young black males, that solitude only came in prison. – 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

It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term feminism, to focus on the fact that to be feminist in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression. – Bell Hooks

No black woman writer in this culture can write too much. Indeed, no woman writer can write too much. No woman has ever written enough. – Bell Hooks

The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem. – Bell Hooks

All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity. – 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

This rule of silence is upheld when the culture refuses everyone easy access even to the word patriarchy. Most children do not learn what to call this system of institutionalize ed gender roles, so rarely do we name it in everyday speech. This silence promotes denial. And how can we organize to challenge and change a system that cannot be named? – Bell Hooks

While it has become cool for white folks to hang out with black people and express pleasure in black culture, most white people do not feel that this pleasure should be linked to unlearning racism. – 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

The wounded heart learns self-love by first overcoming low self-esteem. – Bell Hooks

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

The rage of the oppressed is never the same as the rage of the privileged. – Bell Hooks

Individual heterosexual women came to the movement from relationships where men were cruel, unkind, violent, unfaithful. Many of these men were radical thinkers who participated in movements for social justice, speaking out on behalf of the workers, the poor, speaking out on behalf of racial justice. However, when it came to the issue of gender they were as sexist as their conservative cohorts. – Bell Hooks

Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist. – Bell Hooks

There is light in darkness, you just have to find it. – Bell Hooks

Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. – Bell Hooks

We live in a world with serious class complexes. It is one thing to be a college student with loan debts and another thing to be just dirt poor for your entire life. The challenge is to come up with more complex understandings of where we are, more global awareness of what connects Americans with what is happening with suffering and oppressed people all around the world. – Bell Hooks

They wanted black women to conform to the gender norms set by white society. They wanted to be recognized as ‘men,’ as patriarchs, by other men, including white men. Yet they could not assume this position if black women were not willing to conform to prevailing sexist gender norms. Many black women who has endured white-supremacist patriarchal domination during slavery did not want to be dominated by black men after manumission. – Bell Hooks

Self-love is the foundation of our loving practice. Without it our other efforts to love fail. Giving ourselves love we provide our inner being with the opportunity to have the unconditional love we may have always longed to receive from someone else. – 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

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

Intersectionality allow us to focus on what is most important at a given point in time. – Bell Hooks

In patriarchal culture men are especially inclined to see love as something they should receive without expending effort. More often than not they do not want to do the work that love demands. When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs on love. – Bell Hooks

America is a country that would rather talk about race than class. – Bell Hooks

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