“I Still Have a Dream…": Exploring Black and White Communication Challenges in 21st Century America

Gina Castle Bell

Major Professor: Tim Gibson, PhD, Department of Communication

Committee Members: Carl Botan, Anita Taylor, Mark C. Hopson

The Hub, #5
April 16, 2012, 11:00 AM to 08:00 AM


A complex racial climate exists in the United States today, making intercultural communication convoluted (Asante, 2005; Hopson, 2011; Orbe, 2012; Orbe & Harris, 2008). This dissertation examined this complicated environment, starting with testimonies from 30 Black and 30 White communicators concerning their difficulties in intercultural communication experiences. More specifically, I examined how Black and White communicators’ everyday lived experiences contribute to, and hinder, their intercultural communication. Everyday communicative challenges, strategies to negotiate these challenges, examples of everyday racial tensions, and possible causes of these communication challenges were identified. Research in the area of intercultural conflict may ultimate contribute to establishing a more sensitive environment wherein cultural group members can engage in healthy communicative practices, instead of crash (Castle Bell, 2010; Hopson, 2009, 2011; Orbe & Kinefuchi, 2008).