Tag Archives: Driving While Black

It’s summertime, and racism is bustin’ out all over

Perhaps in honor of our nation’s birthday, there’s quite a bit of sobering news for those who believe that Vermont is above all this racism stuff because, well, we’re Vermont!

Actually, I’d compare us to Scandinavian countries before the first waves of darker-skinned immigrants. They didn’t have racism because there wasn’t any reason for it to spring forth. But you add in some brown people — or even the idea of adding in some brown people — and boy howdy, turns out your attic is full of spiders.

We have, of course, the ongoing disgrace in Rutland, where opponents of setting 100 Syrian refugees might go so far as to eject the best damn mayor their city has ever had. And don’t try to sell me that the anti-refugee contingent are upset over process. That’s an excuse. No, they’re afraid of dark-skinned people wearing heebie-jabbies.

Exhibits B and C are separate reports detailing “stark racial disparities in Vermont policing and incarceration,” per VTDigger; Exhibit D is a series of truly disturbing incidents of racism in, of all places, Craftsbury — the summer home of Bill “Spaceman” Lee and an epicenter of Northeast Kingdom counterculture.

And the cherry on top of this shit sundae: Governor Shumlin urging federal authorities not to harass or “hassle” members of the Rainbow Family Gathering. I wonder if he’d express the same sentiment if it was, say, a Hip-Hop Nation event at Mount Tabor.

Call me cynical, but I doubt it.

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Welcome to Vermont. Please step out of the car.

Ah, leaf peeping season. Prime time for tourists, who come from far and wide to enjoy the autumnal beauty of our state.

Most tourists, anyway. If I were a person of color, I think I’d give it a skip. Especially if my car had New York or Massachusetts plates.

A few things conspire to put me in this frame of mind. First was a revealing, and disturbing, front-page spread in last Sunday’s Times Argus:

Racial profiling spurs state to action

And the sidebar:

“Invislble” racism in a mostly white state

The T-A is paywalled. If you’re not a subscriber, I recommend you find the paper in your local library. The stories are kind of eye-popping.

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