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Year of Graduation

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MALS: Social Sciences

Directing Professor

Andrew J. Matzner

Abstract

At the Intersection is the title of a podcast developed for my final project in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. The title comes for a piece I wrote that was published in The Roanoke Times in 2019. It explores the intersectionality of being Black and female in America. Occupying that space has often left me confused and frustrated. In speaking with other Black women, I noticed a similar sense of frustration. This feeling seemed to be due in part to the tension that often exists between them and White women in professional and social settings. Could the messages given to Black women by their mothers help explain the tension still felt between these groups of women in 2020? This final project attempts to address this question by researching stereotypes of Black women passed down through history and conducting interviews. The stereotypes that have lingered include the Mammy image- docile, asexual, White-oriented, the Sapphire- angry, emasculating, and the Jezebel- overtly sexual and seductive. The interviews were conducted with middle-class Black women ranging in age from their early twenties to their mid-nineties.

Keywords: Black, female, stereotypes, intersectionality

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