Blog posts on bell hooks, “Homeplace (a site of resistance)”

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26 thoughts on “Blog posts on bell hooks, “Homeplace (a site of resistance)”

  1. This article is mainly focused on the racism and what the home means to African families. However, I believe that Hook’s definition of home can be applied to everyone. Hook explains how the “homeplace” was a place of resistance for black families. It was a place where Africans could transcend racism and strive to be subjects and not objects. The home acted as a safe haven where black families could escape the white supremacy community. Hook explained in a personal story, while walking to here grandmother’s house she felt frightened in the community, but as soon as she reached her grandmother’s yard she felt safe. Even if the home was literally or structurally safe, for instance if it were a shack or hut, the idea is still the same. The home represented a place where Africans were free from racism, a place of warmth and comfort. I believe that her definition of home can be applied to all individuals. Hook states that the homeplace is “where we return for renewal, self-recovery, heal our wounds, and become whole.” It is essential for any person regardless of race to have this feeling of home, and I believe that the idea of home is a universal idea. I do agree with Hook that in the time of segregation the home was an especially vital aspect to African American families. However, today I believe the idea of “homeplace” can apply to all races.

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    • 2 points (second posting of the week). hooks does tap into some of those more universal aspects of home that apply to anyone–safety, security, comfort, warmth, etc. However, hooks also says homeplace is a “site of resistance”? How is the black home a place that resists the wider culture? Does that particular apply to all races–that the homeplace is a site of resistance?

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  2. The article, “Homeplace (a sight of resistance)” by Bell Hooks, talks about the Blacks and their relationship with home. She talks about how Black women would use their home as resistance, resistance from the whites. After a long day working at a White family’s house, they would go back to their own home and go on with their lives. When I say lives, I mean just that, they go home and live just like we do (albeit under different conditions). They eat with their family, they talk, they love each other, they have friends, and they don’t express themselves the same as they do at work. They have their own community. So when Hooks says, “one’s homeplace was the one site where one could freely confront the issue of humanization, where one could resist“, she means that they try to be normal humans at their house because they are dehumanized at their work. Think of how hard that would be to do. You have to go to work every day, be treated like an animal for minimum pay, then go back home and act like this is how life is supposed to be. They have to be a mom for not only their own children, but also for a whole other family. It’s almost as if work never stopped for them, but at least they knew they could go to a place every night where they have the opportunity to grow and develop, and to nurture their spirits. Though there houses weren’t much better than a shack, they still had a home. A roof to sleep under. A place where they can love their family. A place they can call theirs.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this story by Bell Hook. It really opened my eyes to how black women experienced racism and what they did to try and cope with it. Before I go on with that, I do believe that Hook’s definition of home and how it deals with mothers can be applied to every mother, no matter what race or ethnicity. Immigrant mothers, single mothers, black mothers all have had their struggles against some other enemy that tries to bring them down. Black mothers in the age of slavery were some of the strongest women of their time. They either had to take care of the family who owned the plantation or work hard labor in the fields all day long, and then have to come back to their own family and take care of them. Those mothers had to create a “home” where everyone could come back that night and be taken care of. A place where they could create that everyone in the family felt safe, a place where everyone would be there for everyone and would be everyones crutch to lean on through all the oppression and racism they have to go through. Somewhere where everyone was considered a person, instead of property, someone who had a mind of their own, instead of just a human laborer. In class, Mr. Dean brought up the idea that this idea when fathers come home from work, they just throw their suitcase everywhere and sit down and relax, while the mother cooks dinner and cleans and takes care of the children. This just shows the strength of these mothers, working overtime just to make sure their babies feel safe and not have to worry about being in harms way.

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  4. Shane
    Bell Hook’s article was focusing on the definition for home in early black people’s family. I found out that it’s really similar to the novel that I read in my ESL Reading class called ‘the help’ .In this novel, one of the scene is that the white woman in the house wanted to separate their family’s bathroom with the black woman. It’s a not only a racism but also demonstrated how significant for white to separate with black at that time. However, the black main character even took care of the white’s child very well in the circumstance that even the white woman herself didn’t care about her daughter. I’ve learned Frederick Douglass in my senior high school and read some materials about slavery. I could understand the resistance exist at the slavery time it’s really reasonable for that time. In ancient China, girls were forced to married at 13-14 years old all the time. I think home for them just like a dice, flowed randomly and gave them different life experience till they died. Home really connected with all kinds of culture and history issue in it. It would be interesting to read through home’s definition in different writers opinion.

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  5. To me, as a person from another country, this essay was very interesting. I am from a country where only one ethnic group resided for about 5000 years. The discussion made in class was also very intriguing, especially the word “dehumanized”. Bell Hooks was describing how hard her parents had lived under a strong limitation on what they were able to do because of different levels of lives existed during that time of period. However, Bell Hooks was also emphasizing that her parents never made their homes as them when they were dehumanized by doing all the chores for a house of a white family. Her parents tried their best to make their home as the most comfortable place for their children. Their devotion to their children was just magnificent to me. I felt it was more magnificent when Bell Hooks was so scared when she was heading to her grandmother’s place by crossing white neighborhood where she felt everyone was staring at her. This environment probably made it even harder for her parents to make their home to be the most comfortable place. This story actually gave me an opportunity to ponder what a house really is. In my opinion, I just thought a house is a place where families get together and a place where families spend time together. However, I, now, am able to understand how hard it will be for my parents as well after all the stresses that they get from their workplaces which is roughly simliar to what Bell Hooks’ parents had experienced during that time period. I realized that a house is not just a place where families are but a place that is being made by those parents who are trying hard to make that place as the most comfortable and humanized for their kids or even other familiy members whom they do not want to show how hard the real life would be. Additionally, it was a great finding for me to know home is not only the most comfortable place to stay but the safest to reside.

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    • 5 points. While certain groups experience difficulties in the outside world and thus at home in different ways, the desire to create a safe and comfortable home is one that often transcends cultures.

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  6. Reading Homeplace (a site of resistance) by Bell Hooks was very interesting considering several aspects. The essay gave a pretty clear image of what African American women experienced deep inside them while they faced racism. The women had to go work all day for white people and come back home with a family to take care of. Doing this midst a racist society is hard. A mother providing care to the family not only has household responsibilities, but also, emotional ones, especially with her children. She needs to come back home and make them feel loved, safe, and sheltered even when she is tired doing work all day. I think that Hooks described home as a site of resistance because it is mainly resistance from the whites and their racist attitudes. Once the black women got home everyday, they would feel comfortable and secure with their own families, with their own people, with people who they knew would treat them well. One of the statements in the essay that I really liked was, “Working to create a homeplace that affirmed our beings, our blackness, our love for one another was necessary resistance.” By this, Hooks describes home as the place with no racism, but instead, filled with care, love, respect, and self-worthiness.

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  7. I found this article to be a very touching/ eye opening one. The story that i thought was most intriguing was the one that included Frederick Douglass. I found it to be very sad but also very informing on how racism could affect someone that greatly 130 years ago. The fact that he only seen his mom 4-5 times late at night when he could have seen her over 1000 makes me sick. I believe that having a good connection and relationship with your family is very beneficial when trying to be a positive output for society. It is very hard to think about the day my mother will pass away. For him it is the exact opposite. For instance he says, ” After sharing this information, Douglas later says that he never enjoyed a mother’s “soothing presence , her tender and watchful care” so that he received the “tidings of her death with much the same emotions that I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger.” I love my mother so much which made this really hit hard. I could not imagine what my world would be like if my mom played the role of a stranger. I also don’t understand how people were so racist to kids. They are so innocent yet people just decide to impose hate on them since people can’t figure out what’s right and wrong for themselves. Everyone was so nice when I use to walk around my neighborhood as a little kid . This made me happy to go outside and develop relationships by doing so. This would be very hard for a young african american growing up in a white society.

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  8. I find bell hooks’ to be a fascinating and insightful person. I was very much engaged with the video of hers that we watched in class- so much so, I believe I’ll watch the full video later tonight. In one of my other classes, we are reading Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” so I couldn’t help but make some vague connections to what bell hooks was saying in her article. The African American community in Caged Bird was very tight knit and held its religious traditions and pride for their children’s accomplishments very close to their hears, and their culture and resistance to white supremacy seemed stronger because of it. This is more of a community example rather than resistance through home, but in a way it makes sense. I was also intrigued by the parallels hooks made to patriarchy and how that is harming the fight to end racism. It also seems that patriarchal norms are bringing down society in general as sexism is very prevalent online, (*cough cough gaming community cough*), but that’s a discussion for another time.

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    • 5 points. I’m glad you were intrigued by hooks enough to learn more! She is pretty insightful, I think, regarding both the historical phenomena of racism and sexism as well as the current ones–how they have and have not changed.

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  9. I found Bell Hook’s “Homeplace” to be very relatable. A majority of my family is of African descent and we have all one time or another experienced racism. So her bringing up the history of slavery and racial segregation in America you could say really hit home. Her ideas on the importance of women in building an environment for civil rights I believe is one hundred percent true. I luckily didn’t have to go through the horrible times of slavery and segregation in America, but I would say that I have seen my fair share of racism in America. And if you asked me what the least racial place I know of is, I would tell you that it is my mother’s house. For as long as I can remember my mom has worked to make our house a place filled with love and happiness. Whether it was throwing birthday parties or just simply still cooking dinner when she was exhausted from work, my mom was the corner stone to making me the man I am today and making our house the safest place on the planet. There is something worthwhile when you’re called the “N” word by someone but deep down you know that you’re not an “N” word because you have a mother who loves you and a house where you are safe.

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  10. The part that really stuck out to me in this piece is when she brought up Douglass talking about how he didn’t think he enjoyed a mothers “soothing” presence. bell hook was not too happy that he put it this way and was quick to point out that he’s taking for granted her 12 mile walks and dedication she showed him when the scenario was so hard, but that’s not the way I saw Douglass saying it. I don’t think he was trying to say he didn’t appreciate his mother walking 12 miles to come see him because if that wasn’t meaningful to him he wouldn’t bring it up, I think he was trying to make a point that he felt robbed of the special situations and feelings that other people mentioned when they talk about their mothers in their life. I feel like he just felt that he never developed these feelings because he didn’t get the opportunity that other people had/have, compared to not appreciating what his mother did for him when the situations were so hostile.

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    • 2 points (second posting of the week). I think hooks is suggesting that Douglass never fully understood what a profound effect his mother had on his life and his ability to gain a sense of humanity because of the heroic efforts she made to be with him as much as she could.

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  11. In “Homeplace,” I was really able to understand the viewpoint that the author was coming from. She referenced the mothers being there for their children in order to create a healthy environment and home for them to mature in. Looking back at the time period of her mother and grandmother it amazes me what these women had to go through in order to not only support themselves but their families as a whole. Growing up in the Jim Crow south, they had to endure systemic racism all around them yet they were strong enough to ignore the racists at work and in the community and continue to show their love for their children when they returned home later in the evening. The household was one of the only places that resistance amongst the African-American community could really foster. Besides church and home, every other aspect of their lives was dictated in some part by the white people who thought they were superiors. The moms were nurturing their children and defending them from the cruelties of the outside world by giving them a place to learn and ask questions in the home. Which looking at households today, the African-American families that I know, the mother of the household is very much still involved in the household and keeping their kids in line. Yet it is becoming harder and harder for them to do that as wages have stagnated and they’re forced to take up more and more hours to continue to support their families financially. Another reason for the increase in hours is the decline of married families in the black community. Which makes me wonder whether as family status has degraded whether blacks turn more towards religion and church for its sanctity or if they turn towards the neighborhood to help support them.

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  12. Hook talks about the issue of home and the issue of racism. The insinuated definition of a home is where a person has control. Hook talks about how strong and responsible black mothers in the old days were. Black mothers were very responsible in the Jim Crow era They would wake up early to go to work, work for the whole day and then go home and do it all for their own families. With a system of racism, they still made it work. They persevered and succeeded in a world that was set up against them. Culturally, black mothers are still very much involved in the lives of their children even if their physical presence may be shorter. These mothers built a safehaven for their spouses and children in an environment that was not meant for them.

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      • This is not only a historical phenomenon. The domestic kingdom has only expanded with the culture of privacy and concepts such as “stand your ground” and “my house my rules”

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