Race, Class & Gender

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February 5, 2013
The matrix of domination framework discussed in our textbook Race, Class, & Gender: An Anthology, recognizes that race, class and gender are an intertwining group of concepts that rely on each other when operating in society. “Within this structural framework, we focus less on comparing race, class, and gender as separate systems of power than on investigating the structural patterns that join them” (4). The author of “Chappals and Gym Shorts” is a firsthand experience of how race, class and gender operate together for an Indian Muslim woman who has feminist beliefs. Another framework discussed in the textbook is the difference framework which “tends to focus on unique group experiences”. Many times, when a book or narrative is analyzed through the difference framework, a reader will find that the writer will compare their story to one of another group that may seem unrelated (6). This occurs in the reading “Back to the Future: An Examination of the Native American Holocaust” where the Native American author makes connections between the Indian boarding school to the Jewish Holocaust of the 30s and 40s.

In “Chappals and Gym Shorts”, the author discusses her struggle with integrating her Muslim culture with her desire to practice her feminist theory. In the start of the article, the author talks about how the night before a difficult exam, her family comes to visit. She is given Estee Lauder gifts, but she would rather have the money to pay her bills or to pay for her feminist theory books. She expresses that she does not even wear make-up. She continues on to talk about the two year time frame her dad has given her to get married. She is more interested in her education, but struggles with the need to please her father and represent her culture. She wants to hold on to her culture, but also wants to recognize her feminist beliefs. This is a good representation of the matrix of dominance because her race and gender put her in...
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