bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry in conversation

I’d never heard of Melissa Harris-Perry (we don’t have her programme in Australia), but I definitely know who bell hooks is.

I watched this very insightful dialogue between these two amazing women and live blogged the best bits on Facebook. (I’m reproducing my notes here because search on Facebook is ridiculous and I want to be able to go back to my notes)

“white women have been complicit in the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. not passive observers, not victims”  bell hooks

“White People would rather destroy democracy than have racial equality” bell hooks quote Dr Martin Luther King.

“We [black people} live in this space of cognitive dissonance that we know white supremacy is real, but at the same time, we like to walk through our daily lives thinking that justice is real, that democracy is real, that equality is real” bell hooks

“.. the reason that people are most vulnerable are the ones that most want to shame you. It’s the reason the sorority girls on campus say that you gotta keep yourself from getting raped by not drinking. It’s the same reason that the churches that are growing among black folks are the prosperity, health and wealth ones, instead of liberation theology churches… It’s because it’s much easier to believe that we can solve inequality by pulling up our pants or keeping our legs closed. It allows you to wipe away all of the structural reality that require collective action and requires work that goes over and past your own life. So if it’s just your individual decision making, then I’m safe from it. So as long as I make a different decision, I will never be vulnerable to poverty, to heartache, or to pain. ” Melissa Harris-Perry

“shaming is a defense mechanism against having to organise … if you’d made different choices then everything would be fine” Melissa Harris-Perry

“Shame is one of the biggest tools of White Supremacist Patriarchy… because it’s paralysing … ” bell hooks

” … when we talk about hyper-masculinity what we mean is patriarchy. And that’s what we should say. Because we have to have a space to love, to revere, and to honour that which is masculine, but that which is not patriarchal. And if we constantly are equating the two, then we are part of the assault on masculinity, on black males… ” bell hooks

“… I’ve been questioning this use of the word ally, because I think that if someone is standing on their own beliefs, and their own beliefs are anti-patriarchal, anti-sexist… they are not required to be anybody’s ally, they are on their front-line, the same way that I’m on my front-line” bell hooks

We need this type of dialogue in Australia. And it needs to be recorded and archived so that the dialogue can continue with audiences beyond the auditorium.

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