Ain’t I a Woman 2

Ain’t I A Woman

Ain’t I a Woman from mpalacioart on Vimeo.

“Ain’t I a Woman” by bell hooks is a nuclear bomb. There can’t be too many books like it out there. Mind you I haven’t read “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde, which has been on my list to read. But I’m glad I read bell hooks first. Bell hooks explained the feminist movement in a way that I did not know existed, all the Racism, who knew.

“It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement.”
― bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman


In “Aint I A Woman”, bell hooks addressed the dilemma many black women had in the 60’s, to give support to patriarchal black men or the racist white feminism. Before “Aint I a Woman” I did not understand the title “Sister Outsider.” I ‘m sure Audre Lorde is amazing, but I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much. If I haven’t read “Aint I a woman” first.

The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.”
― bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman


My woman’s study class in college did not mention a thing about the racism, Nada! I spend lots of time listening about the abuse of patriarchy. My teacher never references Shorjoune Truth. And how white women try to stop her because they did not want any association with the black woman. For the black woman was labeled Jezebel, sexual temptresses a “sexual savage” a sinner who seduced the white man, a whore. No matter how much she achieves, FLOTUS, Dr. Lawyer, she will always be a slut. She could never be a lady; that was for white’s only. And white women did not want to relinquish the only source of power accorded to them, that of a hierarchy over black women. For this, white women encourage the stripping and whipping of black women for emotional and humiliating punishment. Bell hooks don’t hold back; this book was like I said, a bomb!

Bell hooks criticism was not limited to white women; black men got their share. Black mothers warned their daughters to be wary of white men; however, did not accord the same for black men.  Bell hooks mention that black leaders were reluctant to say that the oppression of women was wrong, because of their unwillingness to recognize another form of abuse, besides racism. Not only that, both black and white male leaders shared a common bond, and are complicit attacking women with their patriarchy.

One of the leading cause of homicide against black men is a young black man feeling the necessity assert their manhood by shooting another black male. Incredibility bell hooks point out specifics way that black men are thought not to respect women highlighting playwright Amir Baraka in his play Madheart and the horrible case of Pat Cowan. Where 22 years old black female is murder by a black male writer. Patriarchal behavior encouraged by black leaders like former Nation of Isam’s minister Malcolm X preaching that the cleansing of the black woman was paramount. Ideology for which many women joins to get rid of the social stigma and shame accredit, wrongfully, to the black woman a vacillation that is prevalent up to this minute.

“Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammed, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka and other black male leaders have righteously supported patriarchy. They have all argued that it is absolutely necessary for black men to relegate black women to a subordinate position both in the political sphere and in home life.”
― bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman


PATRIARCHY. They have all argued that it is absolutely necessary for black men to relegate black women to a subordinate position both in the political sphere and in home life. (bell hooks, Aint I a Women)

But the one that got me thinking, Bell said that white women attack slavery, not racism. They remain committed to white supremacy. They never advocated a change to the hierarchy that gave them power. A social hierarchy that ranks white men first white women second black men and black women. White woman did not want black women as equals, them being this sexual temptress who would seduce their white men. The black men were welcome into white social structures, not the black woman.

Bell hooks warn women to be mindful of the path feminism is taking. That whatever they may feel about themselves or for each other, uniting on a common theme to hate man only empowers men.

All the myths and stereotypes used to characterize black womanhood have their roots in negative anti-woman mythology.”
― bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman


About Manuel Palacio

Award Winning Nicaragua Born Artist, Painter, and Sculptor Manuel Palacio. Developed his Art in Bermuda, and Resides in Washington DC. My art is a quest for acceptance. Unfortunately, I guess, like all passions the Arts is driven by this need to feel love and to have a sense of belonging. To feel accepted and understood. Although representative at times it is not always about observations. Rather it’s reflective of the influences of my quest. I’m an American artist whose work developed in Bermuda. I was born in Nicaragua. Culturally I’m West Indian and Hispanic. I celebrate my regions, and it's many cultures.

  • The Oba Of Benin

    Nice article. I absolutely agree that both the civil rights movement and the feminist movement have these huge holes but pointing this out tends to get me a lot of heat.

    • Manuel Palacio

      Keep pointing it out. That the type of heat you can and most handle. You are not alone. In fact, you’re in great company: bell hooks and Audre Lorde.