Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Morrison, K.C.

Committee Member

Haugen, Douglas M.

Committee Member

Chamberlain, James A.

Committee Member

Shaffer, Stephen D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


In 2012, the death of Trayvon Martin would activate the conscience of Black Americans nationwide. In response to the acquittal of Martin’s assailant, a social media movement with the hashtag “Black Lives Matter” was conceived. The Black Lives Matter Movement attempts to impede the recurrent nature of police violence in Black communities. I hypothesize that colonialism and racial capitalism creates an environment for police violence, which leads to social movements like Black Lives Matter. I also argue that the commodification of race, an element of racial capitalism, serves as a distraction from the overall impact of systematic racism. I examine the oppressive nature of capitalism and neocolonialism, and the conditions they produce in housing and education. I examine the role of the two major political parties in suppressing and co-opting movements like Black Lives Matter, and whether or not the two major parties can be effective resources for the movement.