The Matrix of Domination theory was developed by Patricia Hill Collins to describe the various issues of oppression that are related to gender, race, and class. This exercise was an excellent example of how this theory applies in practice; by asking members of the class to step forward or back based on certain societal factors, we were able to distinguish those who are oppressed versus those who are not oppressed based on certain characteristics. I found this exercise to be particularly interesting to my individual situation as well; as a Saudi Arabian female, I found myself taking many steps back during this exercise and taking almost no steps forward. In the end, the “matrix of domination” was defined as the steps that each individual needs to take to achieve the American Dream; the people who were defined to have more privilege based on this exercise have less barriers in their way to achieve this, while others like me who were standing further back have to work harder to achieve this same goal.
I thought this exercise was an excellent representation of the problems that many immigrants and women have to face every day compared to American men; I have to constantly worry whether I could get home safe and whether I will be harassed, while American men do not have this issue. Furthermore, I am not on the same level as American men because there has been no American president that has adequately reflected my identity, I am more likely to be paid less money for equal work, and I have to worry about being treated differently because of my race.
Overall, this exercise made me realize that according to the “Matrix of Domination” theory, I am not equal to the typical American man mainly because of my gender and country of origin. While this is an unfair standard, it remains true for many people who are somewhat different than the majority in power.