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Lions Roar : July 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2006 101 do nothing with a guy who didn’t bring in the money.’ So we see again there is no al- ternative vision of how black men who are unemployed could be leading their lives. And black men who have made it just see themselves as having won the competi- tion. If you believe in competition, then you believe that those people who didn’t make it weren’t good enough. The whole issue is still framed within the existing hi- erarchy, and within the existing hierarchy, black men are doomed. Who cares about black men, the most ignored group in America? Black men need both regular lit- eracy—they are the most illiterate group in the nation—and critical literacy. They need to critique the notion of patriarchal masculinity to save their own lives.” BELL HOOKS poured her heart into teaching in Harlem, but after a few years the challenges at City and the years of gar- gantuan output began to take their toll. In “Time Out,” a chapter in Teaching Com- munity, hooks talks about her burnout, and how after years of being nurtured in the academy, she had to find a place “where teaching and learning could be practiced outside the norm.” A leave of ab- sence evolved into a resignation and aban- donment of the perks of senior professor- ship. She began to think of the world as the classroom and the community as both student body and faculty. Some parents asked hooks why she worked only with students in their late teens and twenties, who already find it hard to unlearn the rules of dominator culture. hooks began to write children’s books about loving who you are and lov- ing others, and to go into children’s class- rooms. She likes “blunt speech,” truth- telling, and honest questioning, which she finds children are so very good at. She hates to see “the passion in the child repressed by those who are afraid of los- ing authority when they have difficulty answering the hard questions. Parents may pretend we’re all just people and race and class don’t matter, but children know what they see. But they are taught not to talk about it. They learn from a young age to stop giving a true account of what they