Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 60 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Derik Smith


Stereotypes (Social psychology), African Americans in mass media, African Americans

Subject Categories

African American Studies | English Language and Literature


The purpose of this thesis is to discuss and identify African American stereotypes that contain both negative and positive connotations. These stereotypes have origins that date back to the Pre-Slavery Era. Regardless of the lapse in time, the stereotypes have only adapted and found a place in the world we live in today. I use these stereotypes and analyze them through a show called The Boondocks. Within the show, Aaron McGruder (the writer and producer of the first three seasons) makes it a point to present his audience with a satirical representation of all these known stereotypes through the main characters. By doing this, McGruder tries to acquaint society with the problems that the African American community currently faces on a day to day basis. The satirical twist causes one to sometimes overlook the real problems that are being presented, but the thesis carefully analyzes each character in order to uncover the truth that lies beneath the laughs. The thesis is divided into three chapters. Each chapter focuses on one or more of the main characters and discusses how they are stereotypical representations through their behavior, mindset and/or actions. The chapters are divided by time periods starting from the Pre-slavery and ending in the Contemporary Era. By doing this, I bring to light the harsh realities that are presented in the show and explain how McGruder wanted the African American community, to not only understand the problems at hand but to find ways to correct these problems. The show shines light on the trials and tribulations that are faced everyday and even creates a vast amount of satirical parodies as a way to enlighten those who have yet to understand the problems at hand. The thesis will illuminate and further develop ones understanding of African American stereotypes, along with showing how the same stereotypes placed on the race in the Pre-Slavery Era ring true today.