According others. The matrix of domination refers to

According
to The Free Dictionary (n.d.), domination is “the exercise of control or power”
over others. The matrix of domination refers to an interlocking model of
oppression; where race, class, gender, and any other form of social
classification are interconnected; at any given point a single individual can
be the oppressor, the oppressed or both at the same time (Hill Collins, 1990). For
example, I identify as a white/Latino/lesbian woman, which means I’m part of
both oppressor and oppressed groups. Within the LGBT community I am part of the
oppressed group, however I am also an oppressor in relation to black LGBT
community members. Even though I do not consciously want to be an oppressor to
any community, I participate and benefit from society’s system of oppression
just by belonging to a certain group. It is not as easy as being on one side or
another of an issue, the matrix of domination takes into consideration every
aspect that can influence a specific relationship or situation.

The
LGBT rights movement was born in 1969 with the Stonewall riots in New York, as
a result of the police harassment the community was experiencing. Whether black
or white, Hispanic or American, male or female, members of the LGBT community
had one thing in common: they were being persecuted and exposed (The Stonewall
Riot, 2010). Everybody united against one single cause, to demand equal rights
for members of the community, regardless of which other social classification
groups they belonged to. This is a great example of how identity politics are
born from systems of oppression.

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Identity
politics refer to the “political activity or movements based on the cultural,
ethnic, gender, racial, religious, or social interests that characterize a
group identity” (identity politics, n.d.). The problem with these types of
movements is that they have a tendency to bring together people that are
affected by a specific issue, but leave out, even if not intentionally, the
other side. This tendency ends up dividing communities and defeats the purpose
of uniting people against a common goal. Continuing with the LGBT movement
example, early gay liberation activists recognized that they were part of a
bigger movement advocating for human rights. They even reached out and gained
the support of the Black Panthers (Smith, 1994).

It
is that same approach that can lead to the social changes necessary to abolish the systems of oppression present in
our society today. It is necessary that everyone within the matrix of
domination unites forces and fights against one common goal. Sharon Smith
(1994) explained it best in her article Mistaken
Identity—or Can Identity Politics Liberate the Oppressed?:

Any
fight against oppression, if it is to succeed, must be based upon building the
strongest possible movement. And that can only happen when a movement unites
different groups of activists into a common struggle. It is not, as is widely
assumed within these political milieux, necessary to face a particular
oppression in order to fight against that oppression, any more than it is
necessary to be destitute in order to fight against poverty. Many people who do
not experience a particular form of oppression can learn to identify with those
who do, and can be enlisted as allies in a common struggle.

In conclusion, we all
have a part in the matrix of domination; whether as part of an oppressed group,
as an oppressor, or a combination of both. When we get organized to fight
oppression, we need to unite forces and unite people instead of separate them.
One does not need to be part of an oppressed group in order to join their
cause, anybody can identify with feelings of discrimination and
marginalization. In the end, justice and equality should look the same for
everybody without regard to race, sex, religion or any other social
classification group.