Bennington residents asked to ‘un-learn’ ideas that don’t support equity

Michael Bielawski/TNR

EQUITY?: The state wants towns to “un-learn” the practices that can make or break an equitable society.

The Bennington Selectboard may be participating in the state’s Racial Equity Advisory Panel’s IDEAL Vermont initiative, which is about “advancing equity at the local level.”

According to state documents provided to the town’s Select Board, the program “unifies, educates, and empowers counties and municipalities that are committed to making Vermont more inclusive and more equitable.” IDEAL stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Action, and Leadership.

It also calls for Vermonters to “un-learn the practices that can make or break an equitable society.”

The item appeared on the agenda for the Aug. 22 Selectboard meeting. According to the minutes, the item does appear again — meaning the board may have postponed action. TNR reached out to the board for clarification, and will provide updates on select board members’ responses.

Xusana Davis, Vermont’s Racial Equity Director

Xusana Davis, the state’s executive director of racial equity writes that the initiative “creates a coalition of Vermont municipalities dedicated to advancing racial and other forms of equity across the state through shared learning and tangible actions.”

She invited the town to participate in the new program in a message to Select Board Chair Jeannie Jenkins on Aug. 8.

“As we transition from such an eventful and uncertain last few years, the demand for meaningful, lasting change is stronger than ever,” Davis wrote. “To meet the demand and to continue moving Vermont forward, the state is launching a new initiative called IDEAL Vermont and we are writing to invite Bennington to consider its readiness to join the inaugural cohort.”

Davis writes that the state organizations promoting the initiative for municipalities include the Vermont League of Cities & Towns, Vermont Community Foundation, Abundant Sun, and Vermont Council on Rural Development.

Now she wants the City of Bennington to play a key role.

“Bennington has been identified for this opportunity because it has demonstrated a willingness to confront and overcome inequity, including racial/ethnic inequity, through actions such as the adoption of the Declaration of Inclusion and the establishment of a Safety & Equity Task Force and a Community Policing Advisory Review Board,” Davis wrote.

The program proposes assistance and workshops conducted by a “multi-disciplinary team of state agencies.” Topics will include anti-bias policies, environmental justice, school curricula, fair and impartial policing, health equity, and supporting minority and women-owned businesses with grants.

Davis mentions that towns could receive up to $10,000 in state-aide for the application of this program.

What to expect?

Vermont’s Racial Equity Advisory Panel’s Equity Toolkit offers some sense of the source material for what may amount to the “tangible action” in achieving equity for all. For example, suggested reading material includes “White Fragility” by Robin Diangelo and “How to be an Anti-Racist” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.

Quotes from Kendi’s book include that no one is allowed to deny the pervasiveness of racism among American society, and anyone who disagrees could be a racist.

“One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist,” Kendi writes. “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.'”

Diangelo’s book was too radical for the politically left-leaning publication The Atlantic, which reviewed and found the author hypocritical and her messages harmful.

“Despite the sincere intentions of its author, the book diminishes Black people in the name of dignifying us,” writes reviewer John McWhorter. “This is unintentional, of course, like the racism DiAngelo sees in all whites. Still, the book is pernicious because of the authority that its author has been granted over the way innocent readers think.”

The Racial Equity Advisory Panel website’s Action & Allyship Guide offers more insight on what Vermont towns might be asked to do to achieve equity. The guide includes numerous politicized statements about American policy and history.

“Learn about the history of immigration law in the U.S., and how it has been manipulated to
perpetuate discrimination against groups like Irish, Italian, Central and South American,
Chinese, Japanese, and other ethnic groups and nationalities,” it states..

On page 4, the guide states that white people are oppressors and black people are the oppressed.

“Many people assume that the work of teaching white people about racism and privilege falls
on the shoulders of people of color,” it states. “It is not the job of an oppressed person to help their oppressors see the injustice of the system created by the oppressor. It is the responsibility of
those who enjoy unearned privilege to help their peers understand and undo the unjust
systems that privilege them.”

Davis is asking Bennington to respond to IDEAL Vermont’s invitation by Sept. 12.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

13 thoughts on “Bennington residents asked to ‘un-learn’ ideas that don’t support equity

  1. “Equity” – The Procrustean solution? Imposed Utopian equality would generate towering dystopian animosity like the result of Obama’s policies reinstated by Biden. Those policies, the creation and encouragement of almost tribal mutually antagonist special interest groups, set back progress toward a homogenous unified society by over half a century. Violence and crime have blossomed. Our standard of living has declined and the fear level of city dwellers, of businesses has motivated their exodus. The Progressives have done this. Their goal? Anarchy as the path to broad acceptance of totalitarian control to restore civil order.

  2. There is a huge difference between “equity” and “equality”. Notice that their signs do not call for equality. Equity is hard-core Marxism, including the redistribution of wealth, collectivism, and surrender of First Amendment rights to the power of the State. The State will tell you what speech and thought are permissible. What happened to Vermont’s idea of freedom and individual rights? We were the first state to outlaw slavery after the original 13 colonies. We don’t need some socialist coming along and spanking Vermonters from the lofty perch of radical collectivism and racism. What color patch will all white people have to wear on their clothing? Something government- approved, no doubt.

  3. Ahh..The Grifter Davis has landed elsewhere- ready to stir up more racism and division.
    Good for her. Hopefully Bennington residents wake up and send this grifter packing before
    she empties their wallets and further divides Bennington’s population.

    • Wasn’t it Governor Scott who created the position of Racial Equity Director and hired Davis at more than $100,000.00 per year. I think this is a cabinet position and the same woman who forced via the governor to mandate state employees to be indoctrinated into the Equity and Inclusion farce. Everything has a beginning and an ending; this equity and inclusion BS is far past its ending date. All this has done is to agitate everyone forced to have to listen to the creation of racism that wasn’t widespread to begin with. More government feel good waste. Another massive mistake from the governor.

  4. The days of the evil dogs and their evil ways is coming to an end. They know their days are numbered, so they are doing and saying anything to fulfill the will of their Master. The days of confusion and chaos will now boomerang onto them. Soon, they will drop to their knees and repent or be swept away. Their days of slaughtering the innocent (young and old), their days of defiling and abusing the innocent (young and old), their days of treachery and corruption, and all of their lies will be exposed and they will be destroyed.

  5. Wow! Sounds like Bennington is no longer in Vermont, where individual rights are paramount, but NYC, where collectivism trumps liberty. I do not know where the board members are from, but I will wager most of them are Democrats, Progressives, of out of staters,.

  6. Obviously, The Bennington Select is made up of people who never learned a damn thing in the first place!

    • They aren’t too bright down there. Big time libs and the’ll go for it, not knowing what the hell they are doing.

  7. Does this “unlearning” that will be forced on the population include “unlearning” religious beliefs as well? Who decides what learning doesn’t “serve” the accepted defiition of equity? Our friendly elitists? Will those who need “re-educating” be sent to re-education “seminars” until they have unlearned their rascist ideas? Vermont is becoming more like China, the USSR, and the Gestapo every day.

  8. Funny how Ms. X-usana has no issue at all with Blacks “equitably” shooting, maiming, killing ..other Blacks…dozens….every week or weekend in Chicago.. Those Black “lives” don’t matter (how’s THAT for equity?)…nor is there EQUITY of the “Black Violence & Death” in every major USA city – of course all run by Liberals/Democrats like Ms. X-usana (or whatever). Vermont basically has a Black population of about 1.5%! Why is she here, with a low six figure salary I bet??? Does Ms. X-usana have any “feelings” for the VT whites who get “un-equitably” criminalized? What about the “equity” of the Whites in VT who are “supplied” with Fetanyl…. overdose, or death…and much of those drugs are brought into VT by Black drug mules from Boston, Springfield, Hartford and NYC…. and Ms. X-ubama (?)….FYI, Missy… 24% of VT’s prison population is ….Black criminals……So, 1.5% – will getcha’ 24%? That is “un-equitable”?

  9. what does “advancing equity” look like?

    which ideas that don’t support “equity” need to be unlearned?

    do we need reeducation camps in Vermont for those labelled “racist”?

    these are serious questions, not blowing smoke

    thanks for any answers

    • To Bill,
      If there are going to be re-education camps, let’s be sure that they are progressive intervention camps to re-educate those in the progressive cult. The camps will de-indoctrinate those who have lost their way and must be forced to return to the American Dream of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

      The words equity and inclusion will be banned and feeling miserable will not be allowed. Maybe it’s time to turn on the progressives just what they are trying to do to us. The progressive cult must be disbanded never to return.

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