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Essay On The Idea Of Marginality Expressed By Bell Hooks

929 words - 4 pages

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 de-colonize their minds is essential to their very survival. "If we only view the margins as a sign, marking the condition of our pain and deprivation, then a certain hopelessness and despair, a deep nihilism penetrates in a destructive way the very ground of our being. It is there in that space of collective despair that one's creativity, one's imagination is at risk, there that one's mind is fully colonized" (hooks 161). It is evident that hooks is placing significant weight on the importance of resistance with in the margins. She believes that if the marginalized only use the margins as a place to denote their years of pain and oppression, they will not more forward, and regress as a community. She believes the regression will not end until those in the margins have been fully colonized and assimilated by the oppressors. She argues that the margins must be used to "produce counter-hegemonic discourse," (hooks 160) a place to battle the encroachments of the oppressors, a...

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