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Black Looks: Race and Representation
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Black Looks: Race and Representation

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,013 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In these twelve essays, bell hooks digs ever deeper into the personal and political consequences of contemporary representations of race and ethnicity within a white supremacist culture.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by South End Press (first published May 1st 1992)
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Books White People Need To Read
35th out of 351 books — 403 voters
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Black Feminist/Womanist Studies
11th out of 87 books — 34 voters

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Black Looks: Race and Representation is a collection of 12 essays by Bell Hooks looking at a range of issues including black sexuality, masculinity, commodification of black culture and black history, arising from representations of people of colour in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

As a feminist, I think it is of vital importance to be aware of race issues and the way that women of colour have been silenced and marginalized by the movement. Its particularly important to me as a white...more
Sep 17, 2007 Bart rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminist and feminist curious
bell hooks' most academic work, Black Looks, is also my favorite, although not necessarily because it is academic. In my favorite essay, Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance, hooks writes, "Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture." The essay continues with more assertions, such as these, which I think easily extend to white members of radical communities. Also, extremely informative, Revolutionary "Renegades...more
bell hooks is amazing. I think I would have liked this book more if I got more of its pop culture references. It was written almost twenty years ago, so I haven't seen some of the movies, commercials, books, etc. it discusses. However, hooks' critiques and insights are incisive and profound. She breaks down racist and sexist messages in media and talks about Black and female self-hatred as tools of oppression. She turns the image of Madonna as a rebellious revolutionary on its head, arguing that...more
Jun 08, 2007 Dot rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: socio-historical and cultural critics
In this book, bell hooks has a piece on Madonna and why she's culturally insensitive and socially irresponsible. I first read that piece in 2001, well before her much-publicized and maligned baby-swiping. The essay is dated; it talks a lot about Truth Or Dare and Madonna's rise to stardom. And at the time, I thought, "She's definitely a poser, but I don't know if she's worth the vitriol, bell!"

Six years later, I absolutely believe she's worth the vitriol. And I say this as a fan.

This book is pr...more
i just re-read this book since it was in my house and overdue to the library. just as awesome as i remembered. one bit that stood out to me, after participating in a gazillion conversations about oppression street cred and what it authorizes you to do (i.e. i grew up working-class, so i can buy a condo on the frontlines of gentrification, the end.) :

and indeed we must be willing to acknowledge that individuals of great privilege who are in no way victimized are capable, via there political choic...more
Aug 13, 2007 montana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: image makers
"The history of black liberation movements in the United States could be characterized as a struggle over images as much as it has also been a struggle for rights, for equal access." Amen I say and of course I extend this too all liberation movements collective and personal; in the cleverest of language she dissects the ways in which white mainstream captures and catalogues everyone and everything to the advantage only of white mainstream... but I think more importantly includes powerful and ins...more
Dec 06, 2007 Alberto rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: theory nerds with rhythm
A classic in cultural studies, you have to love a collection of essays that includes one called "Madonna: Sister or Plantation Mistress." And being a bunch of essays, it is well-suited to morning commutes or bedtime reading without feeling like being forced to put it down just when you are in the middle of good plot point. Hooks is pretty visionary to me in that in its day, "Black Looks" casted a critical eye at how black culture is appropriated and consumed, without limiting "blackness" to Afri...more
Amai Freeman
excellent and unique critical analysis of culture, race, and gender. her theories expose a lot of the hidden mechanisms of colionalist thinking. she reveals how deeply entrenched we are in the hegemony of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy by deconstructing the extent to which these oppressive mechanisms become masked, normalized, and internalized.
ONTD Feminism
LJ user velvetlungs:

Good introductory work to bell hooks. She talks a lot of the intersectionality of feminism and race issues. Dissects African American sexuality and race in the modern media (at the time). I don't ALWAYS agree with her but she does raise some good points and makes you think.
Any bell hooks book is worth a read. In this collection of 12 essays hooks takes on popular music, advertising, literature, television, historical narrative, and film in an exploration of race, representation, and resistance. Should be required reading for the planet. Her perspective is fresh and stimulating and definitely against the grain.
Bell Hooks is a great writer and the topics in this collection of essays are clearly demonstrated. As someone who does not watch many movies, the in-depth film analyses were slightly difficult to read. Yet I was still able to follow the thought process and came away with not just new ideas, but new thought processes.
Why have I waited so long to read bell hooks? She explains white supremacy, internalized racism, the commodification & consumption of the Other, bullshit white liberal tolerance (reminding me that I need to check myself again & again), etc in such clear and accessible ways. This is how theory should be done.
Genderqueer Chicago
Among other interesting articles, this volume includes a scathing review and analysis of one of the biggest documentaries produced about gender variant people, Jennifer Livingston's 1991 documentary Paris Is Burning.
I'm extremely impressed with the way in which this book conveys a sophisticated analysis of the problems of race and representation in a manner that is clear, exciting, and without pretense.
April Lundy
Totally "thougtful"...I use as a text for a course I teach at Clark Atlanta: African American Images in Media... This text stimulates media literacy.

Nora Dillonovich
bell hooks schooled me in multiple chapters of this book... i loved it.
she is pointedly critical and sharp in her analysis of films and relationships...
I really like bell hooks -- this wasn't necessarily one of my favorites, but... I am pretty sure this was required reading for a class at Purdue.
bell hooks pretty much knows everything. Even more to the point:
I really enjoyed this book, but with everything else on the list AND I couldn't renew it any more from the library.
Dec 04, 2008 Shari added it
Black Looks : Race and Representation by Bell Hooks (1992)
bell hooks makes race relations extremely interesting.
There's a great essay in here called, "Eating the Other."
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bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in...more
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“Often their rage erupts because they believe that all ways of looking that highlight difference subvert the liberal belief in a universal subjectivity (we are all just people) that they think will make racism disappear. They have a deep emotional investment in the myth of sameness even as their actions reflect the primacy of whiteness as a sign informing who they are and how they think. ” 4 likes
“The "we" evoked here is all of us, black people/people of color, who are daily bombarded by a powerful colonizing whiteness that seduces us away from ourselves that negates that there is beauty to be found in any form of blackness that is not imitation whiteness.” 3 likes
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