First Advisor

Emily Stones

Second Advisor

Geoffrey Bateman


Regis College

Degree Name


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

82 pages


This thesis explores what it means to live consciously as a White individual in our racialized United States society and was written with the well-founded belief that this nation’s existing racial hierarchy systematically benefits White people and oppresses People of Color. Whiteness and White Privilege are key terms that underscore this project as it employs Dr. Janet Helms’ White Racial Identity Development Model as a framework to examine how these concepts are contextualized in contemporary culture. The WRID model is applied to news-related media case studies that portray White people’s responses to the Black Lives Matter movement in order to concretize the racial identity development that can occur when White individuals are confronted with an organizational, social manifestation of racial stress. These examples are then examined through theoretical communication lenses to analyze mass media’s ability to shape public opinion through the various hegemonic paradigms that it promotes. On an individual level, media literacy is one solution to combating the racist messages that our information-saturated world constantly produces, and on an institutional level, changing the nature of media construction and consumption is a greater response to the systemic issue of racial injustice. This project implores its readers to commit to greater societal consciousness, one that begins with individual racial consciousness, is amplified by understanding movements and racial justice work led by People of Color such as Black Lives Matter, and is maintained by consistently and creatively challenging messages from media and dominant power structures that promote the racial inequity that plagues this country today.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.