We Real Cool Quotes

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We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity by bell hooks
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We Real Cool Quotes (showing 1-15 of 15)
“Once upon a time black male “cool” was defined by the ways in which black men confronted hardships of life without allowing their spirits to be ravaged. They took the pain of it and used it alchemically to turn the pain into gold. That burning process required high heat. Black male cool was defined by the ability to withstand the heat and remain centered. It was defined by black male willingness to confront reality, to face the truth, and bear it not by adopting a false pose of cool while feeding on fantasy; not by black male denial or by assuming a “poor me” victim identity. It was defined by individual black males daring to self-define rather than be defined by others.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“Within neo-colonial white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, the black male body continues to be perceived as an embodiment of bestial, violent, penis-as-weapon hypermasculine assertion. Psychohistories of white racism have always called attention to the tension between the construction of black male body as danger and the underlying eroticization that always then imagines that body as a location for transgressive pleasure. It has taken contemporary commodification of blackness to teach the world that this perceived threat, whether real or symbolic, can be diffused by a process of fetishization that renders the black masculine ‘menace’ feminine through a process of patriarchal objectification.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“...enslaved black males were socialized by white folks to believe that they should endeabor to become patriarchs by seeking to attain the freedom to provide and protect for black women, to be benevolen patriarchs. Benevolent patriarchs exercise their power without using force. And it was this notion of patriarchy that educated black men coming from slavery into freedom sought to mimic. However, a large majority of black men took as their standard the dominator model set by white masters. When slavery ended these black men often used violence to dominate black women, which was a repetition of the strategies of control white slave masters used.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“Black males who refuse categorization are rare, for the price of visibility in the contemporary world of white supremacy is that black identity be defined in relation to the stereotype whether by embodying it or seeking to be other than it…Negative stereotypes about the nature of black masculinity continue to overdetermine the identities black males are allowed to fashion for themselves.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“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, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“By the end of the seventies the feared yet desired black male body had become as objectified as it was during slavery, only a seemingly positive twist had been added to the racist sexist objectification: the black male body had become the site for the personification of everyone’s desire.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“While the patriarchal boys in hip-hop crew may talk about keeping it real, there has been no musical culture with black men at the forefront of its creation that has been steeped in the politics of fantasy and denial as the more popular strands of hip-hop.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“Patriarchal hip-hop ushered in a world where black males could declare that they were “keeping it real” when what they were really doing was taking the dead patriarchal protest of the black power movement and rearticulating it in forms that, though entertaining, had for the most part no transformative power, no ability to intervene on the politics of domination, and turn the real lives of black men around.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“A shift in class values occurs in black life when integration comes and with it the idea that money is the primary marker of individual success, not how one acquires money. Adopting that worldview changed the dynamics of work in black communities. Black men who could show they had money (no matter how they acquired it) could be among the powerful. It was this thinking that allowed hustlers in black communities to be seen as just as hardworking as their Wall Street counterparts.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“At the center of the way black male selfhood is constructed in white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy is the image of the brute—untamed, uncivilized, unthinking, and unfeeling.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“Few black men can look at the data about black male lives and not see clearly the dangers they face and the extent to which those dangers are in place because of their blind allegiance to dominator culture. Black male-on-black male homicide would not exist if it were not encouraged and reinforced by notions of patriarchal manhood and white supremacy. For if it was just about manhood shootouts, black males would be killing white men at the same rates that they kill one another. They buy into the racist/sexist assumption that the black male is valueless and therefore when you take a black man 's life you are just taking nothing from nothing,”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“Most black people are anti-racist (even those who have internalized racial self-hatred) and will not argue that whites are better, superior, and should rule over us. Yet most black people are not anti-sexist (even those whose life circumstance may make it impossible for them to rigidly conform to sexist roles) and will argue the natural superiority of men, supporting their right to dominance in the family and in the world outside the home.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“As black people in a white-supremacist culture we have had a psychohistory of learning to utterly hide or repress our vulnerability in order to survive. When this survival strategy links with the overall cultural devaluation of vulnerability it makes sense that so many black folks have wrongly interpreted invulnerability as a sign of emotional strength. Maintaining this survival strategy when we no longer have to fear extreme violence at the hands of racist whites has damaged our emotional and intimate bonds. The inability to be vulnerable means that we are unable to feel. If we cannot feel we cannot truly emotionally connect with one another. We cannot know love. No wonder then that the lovelessness that abounds in our culture is even more intense among African-Americans.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“Showing aggression is the simplest way to assert patriarchal manhood. Men of all classes know this. As a consequence, all men living in a culture of violence must demonstrate at some point in their lives that they are capable of being violent.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity
“If black males are socialized from birth to embrace the notion that their manhood will be determined by whether or not they can dominate and control others and yet the political system they live within (imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy) prevents most of them from having access to socially acceptable positions of power and dominance, then they will claim their patriarchal manhood, through socially unacceptable channels. They will enact rituals of blood, of patriarchal manhood by using violence to dominate and control.”
bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity

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