Jade Harrison

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Despite a long history of racism in the United States, many contemporary Americans believe racially-discriminatory attitudes and practices against minorities no longer exist and that we live in a post-racial era in which skin color does not determine an individual’s prosperity or social mobility. Indeed, today many white Americans do reject overtly racist behavior. However, although racism no longer presents itself in ways as obvious as during slavery or Jim Crow, racially-discriminatory attitudes and practices are still engrained in American society, but present themselves in new, obscure, and sophisticated ways. This tendency for racism to morph can be seen in popular art forms as well, especially in science fiction, the genre my research focuses on. Audiences tend to overlook issues of race in science fiction cinema and television because the genre is not set in the ordinary world we live in. But the abundance of new races and ethnicities presented in many storylines in science fiction cinema and television provides an opportunity for scholars interested in the way sci-fi comments on contemporary society. By viewing and analyzing a variety of contemporary science fiction films and television series depicting the intersection of humanity and posthuman technologies (e.g., robots, A.I., androids, and cyborgs) in futuristic, seemingly post-racial societies, I reveal analogous racial attitudes and behaviors between the science fictional world and the real world. My study charts how the racist mindsets towards posthuman technologies seen in the science fictional world parallel racially-discriminatory attitudes and practices plaguing minorities in “colorblind” contemporary American society.

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