The main issue in this article is found in the title. Theorist bell hooks is trying to help readers understand the relationship between the cultural movement known as postmodernism and issues related to race in America, especially for Black Americans. Hooks mentions essentialism because that's one of the major areas postmodernism addresses, and one that may be useful for Black thinkers (and that they must address even if they disagree). Postmodernism rejects essentialism, seeing all claims to an essential identity as faulty. Instead, identity is constructed by culture. This includes the entire idea or category of race. Hooks sees postmodernism as a potential political tool.