Hello readers, how are you?
I really mean to ask you all about yourselves at the beginning of my posts because as a socially awkward person, I simultaneously feel like I don’t talk but talk too much about myself. But it’s especially important to connect in stressful and uncertain times. So I hope that you’re all doing well!
Have I really not blogged in a month? Well, I had been kind of busy trying what I can in this presidential election that is bizarrely still happening. I did one thing and had a bunch to think about and consider… and now a pandemic! No time like a quarantine to change around my neglected blog, eh? I’ve relegated “Fashion” to a tag and upgraded “Mental Health” to a category. I feel like mental health can get lumped in with self-care meaning spa day, but after reading Rock My Soul, my focus will more holistic.
Ch. 5- Refusing to Be a Victim
No black person in the United States can have any measure of self-esteem if he or she has not cultivated the capacity to be a critical thinker, to live consciously.
To the chagrin of conservatives, this chapter isn’t about shirking racism, claiming that it’s over or doesn’t exist. While there is discourse about people embracing a victim mentality, personally, I’ve not really found that to be a big issue, but I am not black, it’s not my place, and maybe that’s an internal discussion.
There is emphasis on living “consciously,” which Nathaniel Branden calls “a tool of survival– the ability to be aware of the environment in some form, and to guide action accordingly.” hooks says that it’s needed as part of positive self-esteem and to eschew seeing oneself as powerless, “[black] people must willingly engage in a politics of self-reliance that upholds taking responsibility.”
(I put “black” in brackets because the author who is black is speaking to a black audience, and I do not want to make it seem like I’m speaking at/scolding them and that this can apply to anyone! Additionally, I’m not sure if she means that having a community eschew victimhood mentality would be more meaningful than a singular person)
Victimhood and responsibility seem like big words which can sound like the “bootstrap” ideology. However, I think that hooks means to not fall prey to notions that you can’t do anything to improve yourself or life even if that is living consciously and refusing white supremacist messaging on tv.
Ch. 6- Thinking Critically
This chapter does not provide a process to clarify hooks’s idea of thinking critically so much as discussing how damaging education systems can be on black students’ self-esteem. When is it especially racist, hooks calls it psychological terrorism. It is perhaps ironic because education with anti-biased settings is what is needed to create an environment that will foster self-love.
Ch. 7- Teaching Values
This chapter is about the importance of reading and an encouraging culture to develop critical consciousness. It may be the fault of those in power when institutions fail, but individuals or even communities can do what’s in their power for collective racial uplift and not just individual material gain. Even if one cannot read, hooks champions atmospheres in which even more social exchanges involved discussion regarding decolonization of our minds.
Ch. 8- Spiritual Redemption
African-American slaves interpreted Christian scripture to their needs of human validation. God especially choosing the oppressed allowed them to accept reality but also devise spiritual practices expressing their humanity. hooks believes that modern established churches have abandoned spiritual needs for conservative conformism that creates hierarchies and therefore the valuation of some over others. Such stress has led to young (black) people abandoning the Church and unfortunately the communal nature of spirituality and therefore liberation altogether.
It was incredible to read hooks’s critique of books marketed to black children because I often feel that I’m maarte with my Filipino Kids Books reviews. But if a supportive education leads to self-esteem and freedom, shouldn’t it be necessary especially for more children who are more vulnerable? hooks goes on to cite the lack of a space for critical review, and I was just like… !!! I couldn’t believe I was kind of on the same path as this legendary thinker. 😅😎
Be sure to check out the first part of these notes.