H is for Home

| March 2, 2014

In the essay, “Homeplace: A Site of Resistance,” bell hooks sites the home as a safe haven and a community of resistance in which black females have the ability to nurture their spirits by caring for their husbands and children. To escape the danger felt from white supremacy, black females used the home as a place to resist. hooks distinguishes between the outside, where black females “could not learn to love or respect (themselves),” and the inside, where the homeplace “had the opportunity to grow and develop” (177). The function of the homeplace for black females who worked in white supremacist societies was to be able to “confront the issue of humanization” (176). Black females within the homeplace worked to make this safe haven a place where their families were subjects of resistance, not objects of oppression. In this way, the home was where they could once again find the dignity they had lost through serving white people in order to make ends meet. A definition of resistance is offered in a work by the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, which highlights hooks’ point; “resistance means opposition to being invaded, occupied, assaulted and destroyed by the system” (178). In having a homeplace, hooks believes that black females could be kept from despair; it is a site for organization and forming political solidarity. Towards the end of the essay, hooks introduces the issue of sexism that decreases the value of the homeplace, as “black people daily perpetuate sexist norms that threaten (their) survival as a people” (182). The homeplace must be a space in which black women and men can achieve freedom through taking into account their collective needs.

Meagher, Sharon M., ed. Philosophy and the City: Classic to Contemporary Writings. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008. Print.