Gloria Watkins, famously known as “bell hooks,” addressed the issues of feminism under the current political climate during her first visit in 15 years to SF State Monday. The well-known African American scholar of intersectionality of race and gender attracted more than 530 people, exceeding the capacity of Jack Adams Hall where bell hooks spoke.
The event, where more than 100 people who waited in line could not enter the hall, watched a livestream of the event in the Rosa Parks A-C room. The livestream is available on the SFSU AS Production Youtube page.
“New ground of feminism is almost like, I’d call it, bug light,” Watkins said. “Feminism has been instrumentalized in the interest of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”
The author criticized those who advocate for current feminist movements and those who supported Hillary Clinton as the first female president, saying they are often wealthy and privileged white women who have “greed for money, power and status.”
She explained that while these women focus on gender equality, they ignore racial controversies, including the lack of educational opportunities for people of color regardless of gender.
“Because it doesn’t matter how many times we march for black male lives, if you got black males who cannot read,” hooks said. “So to me, we have got to place education as force for resistance on our agenda.”
Nina Roberts, an SF State professor, respects bell hooks as a mentor who teaches the value of diversity to students and said that she speaks for people of color.
Although Roberts joined the Women’s March on Washington D.C., she does believe that women of racial minority groups, especially black women, are more devastated than white women.
“They don’t have the privilege regardless of their credentials,” she said.
Chloe Curry, an SF State student, said bell hooks is important for everyone because she gives a space where people of color, especially those from the black community, can express their emotions without fear of being called outspoken or angry.
Curry arrived at the hall five minutes before the event was scheduled to start, but the doors were closed and she wasn’t able to enter.
“When I got right to the front desk, they stopped letting people in, so I’m pretty sad and disappointed,” Curry said. “They should’ve just had it in a bigger setting altogether because so many people love bell hooks.”
“She paved a way for a lot of young black women and men to speak about their experiences and about their lives without being ridiculed,” Curry said.
Claudia Flores, an SF State student, waited an hour to see bell hooks speak live in the hall. She appreciates bell hooks’ work on intersectionality of race and gender, and how the author is straightforward about feminist political issues.
“The political state we are in is not new and I guess it’s more end open now, but I think a lot of people that are starting this new wave of baptism will eventually encounter some of her work,” Flores said.