Teaching Community

re-reading bell hooks

Reading bell hooks again, it seems like when I hit a block with the dissertation research I get back into some kind of critical or feminist theory, fun times for sure.

bell hooks has been someone who has intrigued me for ages, I love reading what she has to say, but this book has been specifically intriguing.

With all the recent (or ongoing, depending on who you read I suppose) talk about anti-racist teaching, I feel like hooks has been trying to address this for decades. Most of what she feels it the antidote for racism is love.

As a classroom teacher, I think the beginning of love is understanding and empathizing. It is crucial for us as teachers to know as much about our kids as we can. The more we know, the more we can relate, the more we can understand where the students are coming from, the more, hopefully, we will be able to show genuine love.

There are some great observations in the book that make me think pretty consistently. She has asked many people (of all races and genders) how often they sit down and have informal talks with black women. Another great thought she confronts people with is, “if you could come back as any person a white male, a white female, a black male or a black female, who would you come back as?” While many people feel like they are not racist, not many people would first choose a black female (from her research anyway).

As always while reading bell hooks I have been deeply challenged about how I view the world and am reflecting about how I can work to make my classroom a little more full of love and understanding (I feel like I missed the opportunity for an Elvis Costello quotation there).

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