Date of Award


First Advisor

Francisca Oyogoa

Second Advisor

Dan Neilson


This thesis analyzes the role of American films in promoting Anti-Black imagery. It examines how films have reflected racist ideologies and uplifted White supremacy—and shows how these images have created themes of Black people over time. Beginning with Birth of a Nation, DW Griffith’s film depicts Black people as violent and greedy, as murders and rapists, and most of all as subhuman creatures with no regard for White life. The Blaxploitation Era of cinema aimed to create movies that liberated Black people from the jaws of White supremacist imager but fall short due to shrouding their characters with pejorative stereotypes. The contemporary era has seen significant growth in Black directors, producers, writers, and lead actors. Yet, most of these current Black filmmakers rehash and reformulate old racist and anti-Black imagery.

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