Bell Hooks

This fear of maleness that they inspire estranges men from every female in their lives to greater or lesser degrees, and men feel the loss. Ultimately, one of the emotional costs of allegiance to patriarchy is to be seen as unworthy of trust. If women and girls in patriarchal culture are taught to see every male, including the males with whom we are intimate, as potential rapists and murderers, then we cannot offer them our trust, and without trust there is no love.

Sadly, at a time when so much sophisticated cultural criticism by hip intellectuals from diverse locations extols a vision of cultural hybridity, border crossing, subjectivity constructed out of plurality, the vast majority of folks in this society still believe in a notion of identity that is rooted in a sense of essential traits and characteristics that are fixed and static.

Another response to racism has been the establishment of unlearning racism workshops, which are often led by white women. These workshops are important, yet they tend to focus primarily on cathartic individual psychological personal prejudice without stressing the need for corresponding change in political commitment and action. A woman who attends an unlearning racism workshop and learns to acknowledge that she is racist is no less a threat than one who does not. Acknowledgment of racism is significant when it leads to transformation.

I think the invitation offered the non-black reader is to join us in this expression of our familiarity and via that joining, come to understand that when black people come together to celebrate and rejoice in black critical thinking, we do so not to exclude or to separate, but to participate more fully in world community. However, we must first be able to dialogue with one another, to give one another subject-to-subject recognition that is an act of resistance that is part of the decolonizing, anti-racist process.

Even the wealthiest professional woman can be “brought down” by being in a relationship where she longs to be loved and is consistently lied to. To the degree that she trusts her male companion, lying and other forms of betrayal will most likely shatter her self-confidence and self-esteem.

None of us, irrespective of our sexual preference and/or practice, imagine that we can have an intimate relationship with a partner and always have seamless harmony. Indeed, most of us assume that once the “honeymoon” period is over differences will emerge and conflicts will happen. Positively, we also assume that we will be “safe“ in those moments; that even if voices are raised and emotions expressed are intense, there will not be and should not be any abuse or any reason to be unsafe, and that the will to connect and communicate will prevail.