• Breaking Bad and the intersection of critical theory at race, disability, and gender

      McDonough, Matthew (2020-12)
      Thesis Abstract: The television series Breaking Bad (created by Vince Gilligan) is considered by audience and critics alike as one of the greatest television series ever made. It tells the story of the rise and fall of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. He turns to a life of crime after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he sees meth manufacturing as the most lucrative way to provide for his family. It has been nearly a decade since the series finale, yet it endures through sequel films, spin-offs, and online streaming. My thesis investigates the series’ staying power, and I would argue that lies in its thematic content. Breaking Bad is not just a straightforward story of one man’s descent into a life of crime, but it is also a mediation on dominant, repressive power structures. The series offers a look at these structures through the lens of race, gender, and disability through the actions of characters and their interactions with one another.
    • Entitlement, masculinity, and violence? an analysis of New York Times reporting and Twitter discourse on US school shootings

      Condelles, Eleanor (2019-05)
      A handful of salient factors are consistently omitted in public discourse surrounding school shootings in the United States. Uniformity of shooters’ race and gender persists across almost all of these events, as perpetrators of US school shootings have overwhelmingly been white boys and men. Following the work of previous scholars, I assert that the production and perpetuation of hegemonic masculinity and aggrieved entitlement play a pivotal role in school shootings. Today’s world relies heavily on the media for information dissemination, which in turn shapes our understanding of major events, social issues, and cultural values .I collected reports of recent US school shootings from the New York Times and later collected tweets that allowed for a comparison of how traditional (NYT) vs new social media (Twitter) frame these events. My research suggests that conversations surrounding the role of racialized/toxic masculinity and school shootings are occurring in some spaces rather than others, and has generated findings that could assist future scholars/activists in identifying how to effectively disseminate discourse surrounding this factor.
    • How judicial action on racial gerrymandering has failed communities of color

      Ryan, Maeve (2021-05)
      Decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have resulted in the allowance of both partisan and racial gerrymandering in certain cases. This research seeks to identify the impact that this precedent has on the substantive representation of people of color. The majority-minority district is the key example of racial gerrymandering that is currently legal in the United States. The congressional election results of six states were compiled to identify the impact that the use of majority-minority districts has on the number of votes that were essentially “wasted” in these elections. The findings suggest that majority-minority districts are being used as a method partisan gerrymandering. They also suggest that the votes of people of color within these districts are “wasted” and diluted at a much higher rate than other districts. The research concludes that the use of majority-minority districts is resulting in a loss of substantive representation for people of color.
    • The reality of black owned business, what can we do to make a difference?

      McDonald, Lonniece (2020-05)
      As a black woman studying finance, I am concerned about the success of black owned businesses. I explore the history of black owned businesses highlighting challenges and factors that made them successful. Going back as far as the 18th century, black people have always been a part of the business community but unfortunately were never able to prosper immensely compared to white businesses. They have been systematically oppressed and suffered from hidden agendas inflicted by the white race; including but not limited to; racism, sexism, classism and the list goes on, causing a cycle of debt. After interviewing a few individuals involved with the business industry, we continue to see people of color face similar problems. It is only through education and with the help of organizations devoted to the economic development of black communities that we see black businesses thriving. While there are a number of black owned businesses with successful stories, black people are inadvertently struggling to find investments and run a self-sufficient business. Reasons ranging from a lack of support from their communities to poor reputation from white superiors. As a result, black businesses are disproportionately represented, impairing their socio-economic status and causing a life of struggle. With everything being said, there is a way that we can help black owners achieve success and get the proper investment needed for their businesses. With the help of banks, local communities, government officials etc., people can work together to uplift black businesses. There is a dire need to establish diversity, equity and inclusion, support groups, directly invest in black owned businesses, and educate the ignorant and uncertain. The end goal is for people to have the same opportunities, despite their race class or gender, and to develop a world where there are a higher number of black owned businesses thriving.
    • Watering strange fruits: a study and analysis of the inadequate advising received by students of color at a predominantly white institution

      Joseph, Eryka “Ree” (2020-05)
      Throughout predominantly white institutions nationwide, the contemporary issues surrounding race, access, ethnicity, and diversity have been put under an increasingly bright spotlight over the past decade, calling into question the impact these matters have on a Student of Color in regards to educational control. The main aim of this dissertation is to examine how Students of Color, attending predominantly white institutions, are not being supported in academic spaces, specifically in regards to academic advising. Moreover, how they are redefining and reclaiming what scholarship means to them. This dissertation will possibly be structured in five main chapters: (1) Introduction, referring to aim, scope and background reasoning, (2) Case Study, addressing the methodology and analysis of interviews, (3) Literary Analysis, addressing prior scholarly works surrounding this issue, (4) Solutions, discussion on how to fix the question at hand, and (5) Conclusions, Limitations and Future Research, discussing the relevance and how this can and will mostly be used for future implementation for master’s work, professors and future career work as a diversity and inclusion expert.
    • Why there are no black Dominicans: how anti-Haitian sentiment in the era of Trujillo and the deeply rooted black history of the island of Hispaniola affects how Dominicans racially identify in New York today

      Frasco, Melissa (2020-12)
      Within the island of Hispaniola are two countries: the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In 1808 the island was split into two distinct areas and today remains segregated geographically and culturally. Haiti is often associated with poverty, corrupt governments, and blackness, while the Dominican Republic is associated with tropical vacations, baseball, and the Caribbean. By considering the role of socio-political, historical, and ethno-cultural factors in Dominicans’ racial self-identification, this study examines why some Dominicans may not identify as “Black” despite the history of the African slave trade across the island. Using a snowball sampling method to identify study participants, I interviewed Dominican individuals about their racial self- identification and the cultural factors that influenced them. The view of race will be recognized as both a construct and as a significant factor in one’s identity. My research provides insights into how Dominicans in New York identify ethnically, racially, and culturally. Dominicans have a complicated relationship with race, partially due to the thirty-year reign of General Rafael Trujillo, whose promotion of a racial ideology associates blackness with Haitians rather than Dominicans, the historical colonization of the island, post-coloniality, and migration. Dominicans have a notoriously complicated relationship with blackness, when referred to as Black (in the United States) some Dominicans are quick to retort back phrases such as “I’m not Black, I’m Dominican!”. The Dominican racial identity and its relationship with the country of Haiti cannot be explained by the simplicity of the United States racial binary of Black or white. However, Dominicans have historically migrated to states such as New York, New Jersey, and Florida and continue to straddle racial imaginaries spanning from Latin America and the Caribbean to the receiving country.