Towards a Dialogic Understanding of Print Media Stories About Black/White Interracial Families

Towards a Dialogic Understanding of Print Media Stories About Black/White Interracial Families

University of Georgia
160 pages

Victor Kulkosky

A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of The University of Georgia in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree MASTER OF ARTS

This thesis examines print media news stories about Black/White interracial families from 1990-2003. Using the concept of dialogism, I conduct a textual analysis of selected newspaper and news magazine stories to examine the dialogic interaction between dominant and resistant discourses of racial identity. My findings suggest that a multiracial identity project can be seen emerging in print media stories about interracial families, but the degree to which this project is visible depends on each journalist’s placement of individual voices and discourses within the narrative of each story. I find some evidence of a move from placing interracial families within narratives of conflict toward a more optimistic view of such families’ position in society.

Multiracial People’s Quest for Voice

People in interracial/multiracial families are engaged in a struggle to find their voice. More accurately, they are trying to establish both an inner voice, to talk about themselves to themselves; and a public voice, to tell their stories to anyone who will listen. Dalmage (2000, p. 20) describes the search for the inner multiracial voice: “Because they do not quite fit into the historically created, officially named, and socially recognized categories, members of multiracial families are constantly fighting to identify themselves for themselves. A difficulty they face is the lack of language available to address their experiences.” This story is my story. I am White (Lithuanian, German, Irish, born in New Jersey, raised in New York City) and married to a Black woman (African, English, Cherokee, born and raised in Georgia). We have a son (born and raised in other parts of Georgia). My wife has a “white looking” half sister, who has seven nieces and nephews, some of whom add Dutch to the family tree. Finding answers to the question, “What are we?” is a family affair. Answering the question “What are you?” is a public matter…

Read the entire thesis here.

Tags: , , ,