Date of Degree

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Hildegard Hoeller

Subject Categories

Liberal Studies

Keywords

Black Lives Matter Movement, Slavery, State Violence, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Black Bodies, African Americans, United States, Racial DIscrimination

Abstract

Racial discrimination has been a significant problem in the United States. For centuries, African Americans have endured and resisted (in multiple ways) a system of bondage, a system where they faced political, economic, institutional, and social oppression. It is a system that condoned the violence that often resulted in the innocent deaths of Black bodies since the beginning of slavery. As property, the Black body was viewed and used as a commodity; thus the dehumanization of Black bodies was justified. The history of slavery demonstrates the different ways Black bodies have been and continue to be hindered by its effects. To know our history is to understand our present day. Therefore, believing slavery is irrelevant to the positionality of African Americans today, keeps them in a constant state of danger, ridicule, and exclusion. Given this fact, when we look at the current ways state violence against Black bodies occurs, can it be linked to slavery? And if so, how can we make these connections? By looking at the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) and the current events that led to its establishment, this project seeks to investigate the perpetuation of state violence towards Black bodies today in comparison to the policing of Black bodies during slavery. Making these connections creates a clearer understanding of the continuity of racial discrimination and the negative impact it has on Black liberation. Additionally, using an intersectional lens, this project will explore the BLM movement's intersectional advances while comparing them to previous social and civil rights movements to stress the need for intersectionality. In turn, this project reveals the dangers of dismissing the historical relevance of slavery and how it continues to affect the liberation of African Americans. Moreover, it will show the dangers of not adopting an intersectional framework. In my attempts to explicitly say and show these comparisons, will demonstrate how the false ideologies of Black bodies established during slavery, endangers the lives of African American’s today.

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