Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


Throughout American history, cowboys have been a cultural fascination and iconic symbol of strength and masculinity. To this day, cowboys are readily present in popular culture and imagery, but are nearly always portrayed as an exclusively white character. This paper explores the historical inaccuracies of this portrayal, while decentering the whiteness of the cowboy by discussing media, performance, and race. Through this, case studies such as the Bill Pickett Rodeo, 21st century popular images of black cowboys, and the presence of horses in recent protests come to light as alternative images for a new American cowboy emerging in American culture. These images simultaneously represent a fruitful yet rarely discussed history, as well as a changing perception of who belongs as a cowboy in America.

Author Biography

Louise Blair is an American Studies and Media and Cultural Studies double major and History minor at Macalester College. She is originally from Portland, Oregon, and spends most of her time riding horses and working cattle. She would like to thank her classmates, friends, and family for their contributions to her education and support throughout the process of writing this paper.

Creative Commons License

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