Op/Ed

Editorial: Of Vermont and systemic racism

Our challenge in a predominatly white state is to promote a culture that accepts others as equals. Vermont did that recently, and with a fair amount of grace, by being the first state to legalize civil unions and later gay marriage in the late 1990s. But it was not without a struggle. The gay community worked for 30 tortutous years before a breakthrough.
America’s Black community has faced worse discrimination and for far longer. One can understand their frustration and anger. We can only hope that in Vermont we can eliminate systemic racism through a similar community discussion as happened with gay marriage, with singular instances of ugliness cast as the outliers they are.
Making perfection the enemy of good is no way to move forward. Letters from two Middlebury College professors in the past two issues (this one and the week before), and other stories on race, illustrate that point.
Does White America have much to learn and improve upon? Absolutely. Are we moving in that direction? Thanks to the recent Black Lives Matter movement and the undeniable revelation of police violence toward Black people, yes; at least here in Vermont and in Addison County. Are we there? No. Our challenge to do better remains.
Angelo Lynn

 

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