Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Owen Schaub


Black lives matter. This phrase incites intense and polarizing emotions in our community: with it brings images of police brutality. It forces the topic of racism to the forefront of the listener’s mind. And when that listener hardly ever considers issues of race in their daily life, “Black lives matter” easily becomes a hostile phrase, one to shrink away from. Why? This ability to dissociate – to write off uncomfortable situations – is a privilege. In predominately White communities like Butler University, individuals are often hesitant to have a conversation about race, because they believe firmly it is not their conversation to have. Progress on the myriad of racial issues in America cannot be made until White privilege is acknowledged, subsequently unpacked, and questioned.

What is white privilege? What is institutionalized racism? How are these concepts linked, and why? How can the cycle of oppression be ended? Through the creation of this play, I explore these questions to involve audiences with new insights beyond their immediate community. The Back Pocket Play illuminates institutionalized racism and racial privilege for the community of Butler University through the visceral and accessible form of theatrical performance.