This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Life and Death: Examining the Power Dynamic Between Black Women, Physicians, and Society Through Narratives




Baker, Daisa

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


The current research examines the maternal narratives of four Black women who struggled during childbirth due to negligence by medical staff. Historically, Black women have struggled to receive equitable care for reasons such as lack of consent, insurance and forced sterilizations. To analyze the narratives of the four Black women, I used a thematic analysis to determine several themes and displays of power relations between medical personnel and Black women. The guiding theories for this research include muted group theory, Black feminist theory, standpoint theory, and narrative theory. In assessing these narratives, three themes were found, self-help narratives, where Black women’s self-advocacy was essential to the care they received, wronged narratives where Black women felt doctors had not treated them properly or considerately and ignored narratives where women demonstrated that doctors ignored their reports of pain and distress. The current research informs the theories applied by suggesting the importance of listening to the Black female voice and recognizing that it does not mirror the same experience of other gendered and racial groups.