Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



In my dissertation, I thread through the macro-structure as well as micro-operations of hegemonic ideologies, namely white-supremacist capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy (hooks, 1995, Valdes, 1996), that has historically plagued the United States, eventually gaining a global reach over time. I center interracial friendship between Black and White cis-women, where I locate coalitional possibilities that begin at the grassroots level. I situate this interracial relationship within the socio-ecological system where the personal meets the social (including racialized backgrounds). I use a series of analogies to equate these ideologies as toxins in the air, water, and soil. Soil is where we can work to cultivate a life-giving environment and encourage life-sustaining activities. External energy such as the sun is used through these activities, and internal energy is in turn generated. This process then creates a cycle of life.

Using the popular film Clueless as a cultural product within which the hegemonic ideologies are deposited, I first performed a cultural critique of the film to uncover them. I then invited pairs of interracial friends between Black and White women to discuss the film, focusing on the story line, character development, and stereotypes, and reflected on how the participants’ real-life interracial friendship compared with and contrasted against the interracial friendship portrayed in the movie. These interviews/discussions generated some themes of dialectical tension that could allow a dynamic space for growth. Overall, I work at the intersection of rhetoric and interpersonal communication where interracial and critical interpersonal communication is located.



Committee Chair

Mack, Ashley N.

Available for download on Friday, July 10, 2026