Noel Cazenave: “Accusations about teaching ‘critical race theory’ in Connecticut often lack evidence”

Professor Noel Cazenave was cited in the recent Hartford Courant article, "Accusations about teaching 'critical race theory' in Connecticut often lack evidence, used as a vehicle for broader attacks on equity and inclusion."



Recent outcry over critical race theory is a manifestation of white conservative backlash to the racial justice movement that gained surging support in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, said Noel A. Cazenave, a professor of sociology at UConn.

The furor can also be linked to intense condemnation by conservatives of The New York Times’ “1619 Project” — which examines how slavery shaped America’s founding — and the school curriculum it generated in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

“What we’re seeing today is that no matter what word you use, it’s not going to be acceptable to have a conversation about racism, whether you use the word ‘race,’ ‘critical race theory’ or ‘racism,’” Cazenave said.

As for critical race theory, Cazenave said that its basic assumptions are “the assumptions of systemic racism,” adding that the theory provides a framework for understanding racism as a system of oppression. But critical race theory is also somewhat of a nebulous term, Cazenave said, and has entered the public discourse without a clear definition, thus becoming a vehicle for misinterpretation.