World-renowned author and visionary bell hooks offers a critical insight on self-esteem as one of the most critical issues affecting African Americans from the ages of slavery to the present day. In Rock My Soul, hooks vividly describes the image painted by the African-American identity crisis in terms of living in fear, anxiety, and shame. The scholar takes an in-depth look at how privileged the urban, young or old, African-Americans can redeem themselves by healing the scars of the past to promote and maintain self-esteem. She asserts that this is the foundation for laying down the roots for a stable black community with a prosperous future. Her pen name “bell hooks” is inherited from her great-grandmother named Bell Blair Hooks, a woman who was known for her courage to speak her mind at all times. Drawing inspiration from her grandmother, hooks has been at the forefront in fighting for equality for the better part of her adult life. She is dedicated to working tirelessly in writing from her heart and drawing attention to these societal issues. Her work is inspired by her personal life experiences and hope for a better future. Her writing is largely focused on the dynamics of race, gender, and capitalism. She describes how these factors produce and perpetuate complicated systems of domination and oppression in the world.
Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem
In her book “Rock My Soul,” hooks addresses the thorny issue of lack of significant social progress in the black community from a different angle. While other black conservatives shift the blame to the black community’s ways of life, she repositions the narrative by arguing that the symptoms of stagnation such as symbolic suicide, violence, and self-sabotage are old challenges facing African-Americans, which have only been intensified by continuing government disregard, patriarchy, and racism. She cleverly uses varied sources to support her candid views on the obstacles that often block the black community from achieving and maintaining good self-esteem. Although she admits that the influence of white racism has reduced in the recent past, she is quick to emphasize that the slow transition from unbending segregation toward incorporation and full integration has led into breeding fear, self-doubt, self-hatred, paranoia, and psychological trauma. This is evident in the manner in which blacks try to compete with whites by emulating them at the workplace and in business. She offers very informative and worthwhile approaches to mental health that can solve these ills in the society.
Apart from the propensity to replicate some of her points, hooks is very successful in addressing the overwhelming toll of self-hate and low self-esteem on a majority of blacks and their families. She creatively links most of the problems to certain religious and traditional values. She artistically explores the complexities in the terrain of the black community by advocating for self-love, commonsense solutions, and return to sound values while trying to cope with a modern world, which she feels has been corrupted. The Bell Hooks Institute in Berea, Kentucky, is part of her efforts to address the issue of discrimination, racism, and gender inequality in a time when these issues are often pushed to the background.