Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities (PhD)



First Advisor

Charmayne Patterson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Aubrey Underwood, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Viktor Osinubi, Ph.D.


Research shows that black people watch more television than any other race of people, and, given that television is the most influential media tool, the content of what may affect an audience’s behavior and beliefs deserves analysis. This study examines the black family, alleged pathology, strengths that are specifically associated with them, its portrayal on television, and how television is used as a tool for socialization and influence. A content analysis of the top thirty black family shows that appeared on major network television between 1980 and 2000 was conducted to determine if the family framed was portrayed realistically. Each show analyzed was found to portray some characteristic of strong black families, attributes some media and social critics had not previously recognized or acknowledged. This study suggests that further research is warranted from black family, cultural, and media scholars, as well as social policy and program makers, and on how television influences entire cultures to shift socially and economically.