(born Gloria Jean Watkins, 1952, in Kentucky) Feminist scholar, poet, memoirist, and social critic. Known for her analyses of race and gender and her advocacy of black female strength. Early in her career, she adopted and lower-cased her pseudonym from the name of her outspoken great-grandmother, Bell Hooks. (The idea with the lower-case is to de-emphasize the author's importance and emphasize the ideas.)

In 1981, she became well-known with her book, Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which Publishers' Weekly ranked in 1992 among the 20 most important women's books of the last 20 years. An extremely prolific writer, she currently also teaches in the English department of New York City's City College (though she insists that intellectual work doens't have to come from universities).

She is also a Tibetan Buddhist, affiliated with Shambhala. She has credited Buddhism with her ability to keep a calm mind in the face of racism and people's general lack of respect for others. I saw her speak in DC. An audience member asked "What can white people do to combat the system of white supremacy in daily life?", to which she detailed the following story:

She was in an airport and a random white guy bumped into her without apology, and she got the feeling by his body language that he didn't care or respect her. This may or may not have been because she is black. But from many past experiences she was fairly certain that he would have been more courteous had she been white. Regardless, she was used to most people not coming to her defense. But this time, a tall blond white guy immediately said, "Excuse me, but that was rude of you, what you just did." This may seem insignificant, but this simple act was encouraging. Merely standing up for others and not remaining silent in the face of disrespect or discrimination would be enough to show black people that white people are human and individuals and would be exercising the Buddhist principle of mindfulness in action.

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