Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dr. Erich Steinman

Reader 2

Dr. Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert


This thesis explores the minority anti-hero on television as it relates to concepts of race and behavioral justification. Previous studies have addressed the ways in which whiteness functions advantageously for popular criminal anti-heroes on television, yet little is known regarding the effects of race for similar characters of color. I hypothesized that accessibility of the criminal stereotype does not allow men of color to inhabit the same immoral status as white characters without penalty. I subsequently analyzed the first season from the Starz series Power and conducted a textual analysis using theories of race and hegemonic masculinity to compare the behavioral justification of Ghost and Tommy, the minority and white anti-heroes featured in the show. Results show that Power develops a dichotomous relationship between the minority and white anti-hero based in work priorities, attitude towards violence, and public image. This relationship ultimately serves to distance Ghost from stereotype and deflect the characteristics onto Tommy, whose whiteness allows him to absorb criminality with less cultural consequence. While this strategy broadens the palatability of the show, I find that it is ultimately harmful for minority representation on television. Implications of media representation and directions for future research are discussed.