Complexity of Privilege and Domination

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The Complexity of Privilege and Domination

Privilege always occurs at the expense of others. Allan Johnson states, “The trouble we’re in privileges some groups at the expense of others. It creates a yawning divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health, and quality of life” (Johnson 7). Allan Johnson states this in Chapter 1 of his book Privilege, Power and Difference and it is one of the most powerful statements in the whole book. Privilege creates a great divide between people. This can have a negative lasting effect, if not under control. Society has divided people into two groups: superior and inferior. The superior groups are the ones that are privileged in society and the inferior ones are ones that are
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Even though one would think that because Woodruff is male, he would have a lot of privileges, this is not the case. Woodruff’s race eliminates any privileges he might have, especially when faced against seven white boys. Woodruff finds himself almost powerless to the boys when he witnesses them commit a crime. Petry writes, “Woodruff thought, There are seven of them, young, strong, satanic. He ought to go home where it was quiet and safe, mind his own business—a black man’s business; leave this white man’s problem for a white man, leave it alone, don’t interfere… (2257). This statement clearly shows the racial differences and how Woodruff is aware that he should not interfere. Later in the short story Petry explains that Woodruff ended up staying silent about the crime because he feared the white boys. Petry states, “They knew he wasn’t going to the police about any matter which involved sex and a white girl, especially where there was the certainty that all seven of them would accuse him of having relations with the girl” (2263). It is clear that Woodruff’s race set him back from having any privileges. This relates to the matrix of domination because it demonstrates the complexity of privilege. It shows how same system of privilege can make one superior but at the same time make one inferior.

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, tells a story about an African American working class family living in Chicago. Hansberry’s play addresses
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