Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Casey Frechette, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Ponton, Ph.D.


Countersurveillance, Lynching, Representation,, Social Death, Trauma


The media has played a critical role in reproducing anti-Black violence in the United States, which has often harmed African American communities. Historically, the white press has depicted graphic imagery and descriptions of Black people being brutalized, with little ethical regard to their harmful effects. The Black press has historically challenged negative portrayals in the white media and shown more nuance, to protect the Black audience it represents. This dynamic underpins media depictions of racial violence still seen today. Darnella Frazier’s video capture of George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police, was widely shared in the weeks following the incident, across social media and news outlets. The display of this graphic content has had negative mental health impacts, particularly for Black audiences. This academic study endeavors to examine the historical framework of racial violence in the media and whether the traumatic footage of George Floyd’s death was depicted differently in both the traditional and Black press, and to what extent. A descriptive quantitative analysis of five media publications and the reproduction of Darnella Frazier’s video of George Floyd’s fatal encounter with the police, was performed to interrogate these questions and provide a cogent understanding of whether these persistent issues still manifest today.