In the same week when a state lawmaker denied the existence of systemic racism in Vermont, there were hearings on three separate bills designed to atone for some of the most racist passages in state history.
Rep. Art Peterson, R-Of Course, opened his yap and revealed the hatred within during a Wednesday hearing on H.210, which would address racial disparities in health care. If you want details, click the link above. I’ll just note that Peterson (also known for opposing the display of a Black Lives Matter flag) entered the Legislature after narrowly defeating one of the most decent men in the Legislature, Dave Potter, last fall. Definitely not an improvement.
Let’s take the three bills one at a time, shall we?
No sooner did I drop a post featuring five different stories about Vermont’s uneasy relationship with racial issues, than two more appeared in our media.
From the Bennington Banner, yet another unfortunate comment from a frequent offender on this subject. (No, not Kevin Hoyt.)
From VTDigger, Vermont’s racial equity director issues a damning new report.
The latter is the more impactful, but first let’s pick the low-hanging fruit.
UVM’s Designated Racism Detector, Prof. Stephanie Seguino, reported on racial disparities in Bennington traffic stops. Surprise, surprise, she found that Bennington cops were much more likely to pull you over if you’re black — a perpetual issue for the town’s police department.
The kicker was a quote from town manager Stuart Hurd, a steadfast denier that the P.D. has any racial issues whatsoever.
“Unfortunately the updated study may not have changed its analytics, continues to use census data that does not take into account people traveling in and out of Vermont on a regular basis, and continues to disregard the fact that many departments were incorrectly filling in the information requested on the ticket (no training had been provided by the state when the tickets changed).”