Noel A. Cazenave’s Perspective on Political Engagement Among African Americans

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Noel A. Cazenave - Interview on Political Engagement Among African Americans

Ph.D. – Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut

What accounts for low levels of voter turnout among African Americans?

A major problem is the lack of candidates and platforms that truly articulate our concerns. Having to continuously vote for "the lesser of two evils" is not a great motivator; neither is fear. All too often the only choice we have is to vote AGAINST someone who we fear rather than to vote FOR someone we are actually excited about. That fear-driven strategy did not work for the Democrats in 2016 and it won't work in 2020.

Do voter ID laws disproportionately affect voter turnout for African Americans relative to other groups? 

Yes, of course, they do. That is what they are intended to do, and they work fairly well.

Why are blacks and other minorities underrepresented in political office? For example, there are currently only 3 African American senators and there have only been 4 black governors in U.S. history.

Racially targeted gerrymandering is a major cause here; and, of course, racial bigotry is the major factor.

What strategies have proven effective in increasing voter participation and civic engagement among African-Americans?

Passing laws that make voter registration easy, voter registration drives, and offering dynamic and courageous candidates and platforms that can significantly improve the quality of our lives, would all be helpful.

Posted by Malley, Mary in News