A New England Kind of Racism

Leah Wright, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of African American studies, participated in a discussion on WNPR’s “Where We Live” about racism in Connecticut and New England in light of a recent incident in which comedian Dave Chappelle was heckled at a performance in Hartford.

“Connecticut represents a paradox. We are one of the bluest states in the country, we are extremely progressive on a number of fronts, but on the other hand, we really have a problem when it comes to talking about race and dealing with race,” said Wright. “I think part of this has to do with the way in which Connecticut is set up. Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the state but it’s also surrounded by extreme wealth. It’s also highly segregated. So the city is predominantly black and Latino, whereas it’s surrounded by suburbs that are predominantly white. This creates very interesting dynamics. It also has a very interesting and important history, and all of that really played out in the Dave Chappelle incident, and how the media has been talking about the Dave Chappelle incident.”