Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Marvin King

Second Advisor

Marquita Smith

Third Advisor

Vivian Ibrahim

Relational Format



Linked fate is a concept that says what happens to one individual in a group affects the group as a whole. Research has shown that Black people tend to subscribe to that concept of linked fate, especially in relation to politics. Further studies, although not exclusively labeled as such, have shown that Black people feel a sense of linked fate when it comes to pain too. This thesis explores the intersection of Black joy, politics, and linked fate. Black joy is understood to be a shared experience amongst individuals of African descent. Black joy emphasizes the choice that Black people make every day to live as their full selves unapologetically. The goal of this thesis is to gain a better understanding of how Black people view joy and happiness and how the concept of linked fate should apply to Black joy in the same way that it applies to Black pain and Black politics. This study uses qualitative data from ten Black students, 18-22, attending colleges and universities in the state of Mississippi. The participants were interviewed via different methods, including in-person and email. The main findings from the interviews were that there is a distinction between joy and happiness, with happiness being defined as fleeting while joy was described as eternal. Another conclusion was that politics has an effect on happiness, but not joy. Joy was said to be internal and unwavering, while happiness could be affected by external factors like politics. In good and bad times, participants said that what happens to one Black person affects other Black people, hinting at the idea of linked fate. The Black experience is not a monolith, but when it comes to politics, pain, or joy, it can be argued that the Black experience is a connected one. The idea of “rooting for everybody Black” goes deeper than how much melanin a person possesses. It is the joy that the group can feel and relate to that makes rooting for everybody Black unique.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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