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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PeggySue Imihy, AmSt undergraduate, has received a summer UROP

PeggySue Imihy, AmSt undergraduate, received a summer UROP for her project: "The Black Predator: Misrepresentations of African Americans in Post WWII America." This research project looks at the development and consolidation of the "black predator" trope in American culture, specifically in the post WWII era. Long-standing cultural discourses in American society frame African-Americans as inherently risky and dangerous, and in fact predatory on broader American society, particularly against white Americans. This research project explores this trope since 1945, through the Cold War, Vietnam era, and to the present. It draws on cultural and media studies and will look at primary and secondary sources related to the representation of African Americans as "predatory." Examples include the "black welfare queen" (predatory on taxpayers, who are coded as 'white society') trope which emerged in the Reagan era, and the "superpredator" black male (coined by criminologists, and purportedly described a new class of lawless, immoral, hyper-violent and predatory young black male criminals) which emerged in the Clinton era. Though both representations have been soundly dismissed as wildly inaccurate racial depictions, they remain resonant and connect a long pattern of representing blacks as predatory upon society, particularly white Americans.