Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr.Heather Pruss

Second Advisor

Dr.Annette Powell


This project aims to explore how formal and informal labels given to Black people in the United States impact Black people’s self-perceptions, with attention to how intersectional identities (e.g. queer, person with disability) can complicate those impacts. Labeling theory (Cullen, 1976) provides the theoretical lens to explore how the Black identity, and Black people in this country, are threatened by externally assigned and internally actualized labels. Data is presented in the form of a film compiled from video interviews with 12-15 Black individuals. Participants were recruited in a purposive manner with intersectional identity traits in mind (e.g. age, gender identity, sexuality) and prompted to discuss their experiences with labels assigned to and/or internalized by them through various social institutions (e.g. family, work, school). The data are analyzed and presented thematically to outline the types of labels described by participants, the source of those labels, and their impacts.

Available for download on Friday, May 02, 2025