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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


International Studies

First Advisor

Kent Warren

First Committee Member

Phyllis Thompson

Second Committee Member

Francisca Trujillo-Dalbey


Although diversity on television has ebbed and flowed in recent years, many new shows have recently emerged that feature either predominantly black female casts, or that feature a black female in the lead role. Reality television often sends forth angry, physical images of African American women, while non-reality television tends to express alleged relationship and sexual values of African American females that are uncomfortable for many. Not everyone embraces these images. What are modern television images saying about African American women? Using the lens of critical race theory to view images of African American women aired on highly rated reality and non-reality television shows, this study examines and compares emerging negative stereotypes of African American women, and explores and identifies what historical negative stereotypes of black females continue to be perpetuated today via the small screen. Furthermore, in order to fill a gap in the current available research, this analysis also considers and exemplifies the frequency and definition of positive representations of African American women on reality and non-reality television.





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