This chapter examines some of the intellectual history of modernization and mass communication theory, focusing mainly on the 1950s and 1960s. Specifically, it examines closely the ways in which the theory and its assumptions about people, social change, and media effects were inflected by changing ideas about race and race relations. The chapter reviews an important dimension of the post-World War II socio-political context. Discussions about race were marked by a discursive shift from "biological racism" to "cultural racism", which had important implications for the ways American academics and policy makers thought about the postcolonial world, especially in the context of modernization theory. The chapter shows how the shift occurred institutionally through intellectual networks, and finally discusses the contemporary consequences of bringing cultural racism discourses into modernization theory.