Essay on the idea of marginality expressed by Bell Hooks

Essay by etrain03College, UndergraduateA, May 2004

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From its humble beginnings in 1776, the United States has been a bright beacon of equality, whose light has attracted millions of immigrants from all parts of the world. Yet, this heavily sought equality is still a fleeting ideal, an ideal not enjoyed by a portion of our population. These people, whose numbers have been displaced, oppressed, and dominated, represent the margins of our society. Though part of American's collective whole, they live and work outside society's center, and take up space in the margins, much like the margins of a sheet of paper. Author bell hooks, however, believes these margins not only represent sites of oppression, but also serve as places of resistance. To hook's, the margins are something the marginalized need to hold on to, for it is a site of resistance that allows the oppressed to hold on to their individuality and use it as a source of power.

Resistance is the space in the margins where the oppressed can say "no" to the oppressor. Bob Marley's song is an example of such resistance, "We refuse to be what you want us to be, we are what we are, and that's the way it's going to be" (hooks 160). The space, where which Marley's expresses his counter-hegemonic resistance, is located in the margins of society. This resistance is a vital outlet for the marginalized, it allows them to speak out against years of displacement and repression. The medium the margins provide gives the marginalized a way to "de-colonize [their] minds" (hooks 161). The colonization hooks is referring to is the control and dominance people from outside have over the people within the margins, while de-colonization is an attempt by those in the margins the reverse the effects of such prolonged oppression. This attempt by the marginalized to...