Gloria Jean (aka bell hooks) on Race, Poverty, Love, and Teaching Healing

George Yancy interviews bell hooks for the Opinionator blog in today’s issue of The New York Times. Below are two take-aways from the interview.

On love and removing “need” from the collective accomplishments of “good work”:

I was just talking with a neighbor about what it feels like to be working at a need-based college like Berea, where none of our students pay tuition, and many of them come from the hills of Appalachia. We often get discouraged anytime we feel that our college isn’t living up to its history of integration and of racial inclusion. But then we’d see we have students who are doing such amazing things, from the hills of Virginia, or Tennessee. You just know, I am right where I am meant to be, doing what I should be doing, and giving and receiving the love that comes anytime we do that work well.

On poverty today and poverty way back when:

Let’s face it, one of the things white people gave us when they gave us integration was full access to the tormenting reality of desire, and the expectation of constant consumption. So part of the difference of poverty today is this sort of world of fantasy — fantasizing that you’ll win the lottery, fantasizing that money will come. I always cling to Lorraine Hansberry’s mama saying in “A in Raisin in the Sun,” “Since when did money become life?” I think that with the poverty of my growing up that I lived with and among, we were always made to feel like money is not what life is all about. That’s the total difference for everyone living right now, because most people in our culture believe money is everything. That is the big tie, the connecting tie to black, white, Hispanic, native people, Asian people — the greed and the materialism that we all invest in and share.

Click here to read the entire interview.


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