Towards a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender by Patricia Hill - Critical Essay Example

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Sewanee University of the South
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Critical thinking
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Our society is faced with a variety of issues that need to be addressed. Most of these issues revolve around race, class, and gender. In Towards a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender, Patricia Hill addresses the issues of race, class, and gender as intertwined. In the article, Collins takes a different approach towards the issue and looks at how oppression affects people rather than conducting new research.

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Social Theoretical Approaches in Patricia Hill’s Article

Two social theoretical approaches are used in the article: symbolic interactionism and structural-functional theories. The effects of oppression on people within the society are viewed from three dimensions; institutional, symbolic, and individual. The institutional dimension of oppression is represented by social institutions such as schools, workplaces, government, hospitals, and businesses. Issues of racism, elitism, and sexism have a foundation with social institutions. Using slavery as an example, Collins demonstrates how slavery was race, class, and gender institutions. She says that:

unfortunately, elite white men are over-represented among the upper administrators. They are all joined by white women as helpers. In most situations, who are the people that take care of the cleaning in school, bring the mail, or fix the leaky pipes? Even in a workplace, Hispanic or African Americans are more often the people staying after normal work hours and cleaning up the workplaces. Our environment is just a modern plantation (Hill Collins, Patricia)

The symbolic dimension of oppression is suggested by the articles as part of our everyday life which is seen as stereotyping of races and genders. Words such as feminine and masculine are an example of how social groups different people with similar qualities and form a basis of segregation, especially towards genders.

Collins points out dichotomous thinking in our society when it comes to oppression. White feminists, for instance, identify with how women are oppressed but are not willing to see that being white gives them privileges compared to black women. Due to the multiple systems of oppression in our lives, everyone has a different amount of penalty and privilege from the other. Dichotomous thinking is discouraged as it creates an eternal classification and results in the classification of people on the basis of their race, gender and class.


At the end of the article, Collins urges us to take a stand and to examine ourselves. Oppression should be talked head-on and it starts with self-scrutiny of our complacencies. I agree with her views as I have witnessed cases of sexism, especially in business institutions. This is a matter that needs to be solved with urgency and its starts with each person taking a stand.

Works Cited

Hill Collins, Patricia. Toward A New Vision. 1st ed., Memphis, TN, Research Clearinghouse And Curriculum Integration Project, Center For Research On Women, 1989,

"Toward A New Vision: Race, Class, And Gender As Categories Of Analysis And Connection By Patricia Collins Social Stratification". Kristinmarsh.Com, 2017,

"Towards A New Vision" Patricia Hill Collins". Femme and Homme.Blogspot.Co.Ke, 2017,

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