""We Real Cool is a slim book, but it's fat (or phat) with ideas on how to encourage black men to be their real selves in the truest sense of the word."
-Karen Grigsby Bates, "Ms. Winter
"I read the first page of the preface holding my nose because I am sick of listening to others tell me who I am. I am out of patience with being the topic of someone's ill-informed master's thesis, dissertation, newspaper feature and magazine article. As I read on, though, Hooks put me at ease with her insight, honesty and clear prose....hooks writes to bring attention to the crossroads at which the black male stands. On one side is his very survival and perhaps his redemption. On the other is his enduring marginalization and even extinction."
-Bill Maxwell, St. Petersburg Times
"The black American feminist writer-critic and social commentator bell hooks is strong meat. Take the way she spells her name, militantly lower case. She uses terms that can scare the horses: imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy. It can never be said of this writer that she doesn't set her shop-stall up right from the beginning. In her latest work, "We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, hooks states in the preface that these incendiary terms are her terms of reference."
-The Independent, 2004
Black men are cool. But most books about black men miss the mark, making the same points - difficult childhood, white racism, pverty - they describe without meaningful explanation. bell hooks' brilliant new book We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity goes where everyone else has been unwilling to go. Without casting blame, hooks tells hard truths: black men are feared, admired, made the objects of sexual fantasy, envied, but rarely loved. Black men are hated, and hooks tells us why. In these critical essays, hooks examines what black males fear most (maternal sadism, lopss, emasculation) and probes the depths of their longing for intimacy, for fathers, for meaningful relationships. Highlighting the value of a feminist approach to understanding black masculinity, hooks looks at the way patriarchal thought and action undermine black male self-esteem. With compassion and generosity, bell hooks contends that black men become loving individuals only as the accept full accountability for shaping their destiny.
Taking as her starting point powerful writing on black masculinity from the sixties and seventies, bell hooks looks seriously at the problems black males face - both the ones nopt of their own making and the ones they create for themselves. In ten clear and provocative chapters, hooks offers a thorough examination of issues ranging from the trauma of childhood abandonment, parenting and black male violence, to work, education, sexuality, self-esteem, and spiritual recovery. We Real Cool offers a redemptive vision of black men and masculinity, one that is complex and multi-layered. This is the book that everyone seeking to understand black male identity must read.
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