Date Thesis Awarded

5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Government

Advisor

Simon Stow

Committee Members

Jaime Settle

John Riofrio

Abstract

Black activists have historically accused white liberals of hampering black Americans’ struggle for racial justice. This begs the question of how the white liberal exists today and whether it still serves as a hindrance in America’s search for racial justice. Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and Go Set a Watchman are all fictional works that assist us in answering these questions. A look into the first half of Get Out and To Kill a Mockingbird allows the reader to analyze the different ways white liberalism can exist in society, such as racial colorblindness. In these two works, the troubles with white liberalism can appear implicitly and prevent readers from recognizing its problems. The second half of Get Out and Go Set a Watchman, however, pull back the liberal façade and confront the thin line between white liberalism and white supremacy. This research considers whether the white liberal is still “the Negro’s great stumbling block” and how it manifests in contemporary society by offering a political analysis of three depictions of white liberalism in American popular culture and the critical and popular responses to these cultural artifacts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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