Initial Thoughts on Bell Hooks’ Teaching Critical Thinking

I really enjoyed the readings from Bell Hooks’ Teaching Critical Thinking. In Chapter 4 “Decolonization,” Hooks raises the interesting point that “liberation is an ongoing process” and that we are “bombarded daily by a colonizing mentality (few of us manage to escape the received messages coming from every area of our lives), one that not only shapes consciousness and actions but also provides material rewards for submission and acquiescence that far exceed any material gains for resistance, so we must be constantly engaging new ways of thinking and being (26).” This section, to me, served as an important reminder that progress happens gradually and by not submitting to the established order. That is, by doing something because that is the way it has always been done, progress cannot happen. However, while this initially sounds simple, Hooks reminds us that there is more of an incentive to conform to social norms than there is to try to improve them. Thus, the desire to change things is stifled by the relative ease with which one could just accept things the way they are. It makes sense to me, then, why Hooks was emphasizing the importance of education in teaching all students how to think critically and to continue to do this beyond the classroom. 

Owen Schuster