Blogging the Theoretical

The Solution (Collins)-ahvang08

September 18, 2011 · 3 Comments

The solution can’t be understood until the problem is addressed. African- American women in the United States are at the bottom of the domination matrix. They are continuously oppressed for not only their race, but their class, gender and sexuality as well. The matrix of domination is made up of four domains of power, which in turn organizes, manages, justifies, and influences oppression in to the lives of African-American women (Collins, 294). In recognizing these domains of power, the Black Feminist can work towards a solution. Patricia Hill-Collins believes that Black feminist thought should empower and spread knowledge and slowly change will come to our society’s social structure and power domains. Collins explains that Black women’s experiences and ideas illustrate the way in which these four domains of power shape domination, but at the same time these domains have been and can be used for Black women’s empowerment (295).

Empowerment is the ability to take action and actually make a difference. It is one thing to say you’re going to do something and another to go do it.  Collins explains that Black feminist can’t be empowered without knowledge, the two are interdependent. She believes that Black feminist thought should continuously address the epistemological debates concerning the power dynamics that underlie what counts as knowledge and that by offering new knowledge about Black women’s own experiences they become empowered (292). U.S. social institutions uphold and foster a lot of the oppression in American and empowerment cannot occur unless there is change. Black feminist have spent a lot of time addressing segregation laws and fighting to be participants in U.S. society. Black women’s resistance strategies reflect their placement both within each domain and within the U.S. matrix of domination. But without resistance, knowledge and empowerment, Black women will be forced to remain at the bottom of the domination matrix. Collins explains that change might not be recognized in each individual African-American woman, but collectively as each individual changes their ideas and actions the overall shape of power will change (293). Ultimately, it has to be a group effort for change to happen, but the individual roles are just as important as the whole entity.

Categories: Abby · Group One

3 responses so far ↓

  •   rcrich09 // Sep 18th 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I like what you have so far and my only criticism is that I would enjoy reading deeper into the way in which Black Feminist Thought gives examples of ideal resistance whether fighting in each of the domains of power or in addressing oppressing epistemologies.

  •   janico08 // Sep 19th 2011 at 9:42 am


    Great start!

    I think you should explain the four domains of power in a little more detail. You may even want to address the controlling images as a part of the problem. Black woman have to navigate these controlling images and therefore these images have an effect on their experiences.

    And perhaps add something regarding “‘never stop questioning’ social injustices” (Collins 291). I think this is an important point because it breaks the veil of silence that can be cast to oppress Black women.

    And don’t forget a bibliography!


  •   degan // Sep 21st 2011 at 4:50 am

    Abby, Great job! I really have nothing to critique, but I could suggest a couple things. You could possibly mention that there is an overlap between different types of oppression. Not that they are interchangeable, but in which all groups possess varying amounts of penalty and privilege in one historically created system. Those things could play a part in the solution to stop oppression as a whole. Just input not necessary particularly.
    From Monica

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