This comment is from Marianne Ward, a Burlington resident and mother of three sons.
Please don’t ignore Deborah Bucknam’s warnings in her March 15 commentary, “Stop racist formations in Vermont.”
I was unaware that the “trainings” she warns of are taking place across the state. I live in Burlington. According to a city employee I spoke with, here the formations are separated by skin color. I wasn’t going to believe it until I checked it out for myself. Sure enough – Covid dollars are wasted on mandatory, segregated trainings, which are literally described by the Burlington Office of Racial Equity, Inclusion & Belonging as safe spaces.
When I asked the acting director of REIB (the director left on March 10) if I could have access to the documents, I was told no – they are not intended for the public. This is legitimate internal business of the city! What are they hiding?
Ms Bucknam says Martin Luther King is not mentioned in the trainings — trainees are told his ‘dream that his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character’ is racist . Ex-REIB director Tyeastia Green’s statement reveals the new black narrative that explains the new racist label.
On Rosa Parks and MLK, she says this: “They (the white people) took people they found acceptable and threw them. They say that’s the standard you should aspire to – be that docile black man so you can be acceptable to us. No Malcolm X, Angela Davis or Stokely Carmichael. It’s wrong.”
This quote is taken from a CCTV interview she did on December 15, 2020 with three black refugee interns at a high school. There is more. To read what follows from the point of view of true or false historical facts would be to miss the point.
Consider its audience – vulnerable black refugee high school students trying to fit in and struggling mightily with English and homework.
On reparations, she said: “The indigenous population received reparations for the white people who stole their land. The Japanese got money for the whites by putting them in internment camps. The Chinese received money for white people to be racially offensive to them. The only group of people who haven’t gotten any kind of relief from the damage done by the white people is us. “We,” she said. Skin color is not a “we”.
And this: “One thing for you young black people (ages 15-17) who have been here more recently is that the whole history of American blackness is at your feet.
When they expressed their gratitude for the opportunities they were getting here, she said, “Yeah, but what are you giving up for this?” We come from hell, they said.
She told them the white boys would beat them to death. And that all over this country they would be called the N word.
If I were to teach vulnerable black African refugees how to recognize that they are being politically manipulated, this unethical 30 minute video, about paralysis, I am your savior is what I would use.
I am the mother of three sons. I thought of the parents of black high school interns and what a betrayal it was for her to indoctrinate them into hatred and tribalism – the same forces that expelled them from their homeland.
She brought an arrogant militancy to the post. “I am not trying to change mentalities. So it’s like you (white people) can be racist, you can hold on to your racism, I don’t care, but that’s how we gon’ do it and those are the rules we gon’ respect. You (the mayor) are not going to commit racist acts under any circumstances and you’ll get away with it…”. Much like what Bucknam warns us about, his words can only be described as tribal indoctrination of white hatred.
In the 1980s, I too was indoctrinated into racist propaganda. I sort of bought into it, but I never stopped wondering if I was really racist. Today, with all the divisive black propaganda and accusations against white people, I reject it completely.
In another interview (David Goodman on VTDigger, March 31, 2021), Green said she sees racism all over Vermont. When we arm for war, we create an enemy.
About Burlington, she says there is something nefarious. Luckily she wasn’t in tourism!
Remember, this is the same woman responsible for bringing “training” to Burlington. And the one the mayor took to the air every time he got the chance to give her credit for “educating” her. Upset city officials say their relationship was a dog-tail relationship. And because of that, they all walked on eggshells. He betrayed this community. Just like his legacy of white hatred.
What really scares me about all of this is that as a city leader with the power of the mayor behind her, she may have been consulted on what and how to teach racial history in our schools.
Over twenty years ago, I volunteered with the State Minority Health Department in Burlington. There, I learned from the BIPOC communities about racial inequalities in health care and their calls for help. So when state and local officials claimed they were unaware of the impact of Covid on black and brown communities, I could not be convinced.
Many years later and before the murder of George Floyd, councilors made statements about the high level of racial tension in the city. Over the decades, mayors and councilors have come and gone – not all of them; some still “serve”. Nothing has changed except the rise in tensions.
But hey, look how racially fair we are! Our main street declares Black Lives Matter! The Everybody Loves a Parade mural was removed because it didn’t have enough black faces. And, with his seven substitutes spread across the city, you won’t find a white face. Kudos to us! Power is not ashamed.
It is state and local governments that have brought upon us the tragic racial tensions in our communities. Their forced indoctrination by armed departments for racial equity, inclusion and belonging is a horribly bad idea.
It all sounds like a massive CYA plan.
So now, as I see it, it’s easier for officials to blame their failures on the people, as if we – with all our might – created the problem. Otherwise, why would city employees, by an authoritarian regime, be forced into separate “trainings”?
Black activists are no better. They are belligerent, demanding, unreasonable, exploitative, and sometimes intentionally divisive.
Fueling division will not mend our broken communities. But then, healing is not everyone’s goal.