Flashback: Burlington’s racial equity director discusses reparations, MLK and BIPOC-only listening sessions

In a December talk session with three local high school students, Tyeastia Green, Burlington’s director of racial equity, inclusion and belonging, shared her views on reparations, racism and “changing the rules” in Burlington — and what it’s like to live in “the second whitest place in America.”

“I’m not focused on changing people’s minds, I’m focused on changing the rules,” Green said of her position as director. “So it’s like, you can be racist, you can hold onto your racism, I don’t care. But this is how we’re going to do it, and these are the rules that we are going to abide by.”

In one part of the program broadcast on Town Meeting TV, Green, who was appointed the city’s first REIB director in February 2020, said reparations need to be made to black people due to the past legacy of slavery in America.

“So white people are very rich, right? They have a lot of money, they have fancy houses, and all of that came from us,” she said. “All of us doing their work and then not being paid for it.”

Green said reparations have been made to other ethnic groups in the past, so a precedent exists for reparations for black Americans.

“There have been other harms done to other groups of people in this country,” she said. “The indigenous population got treaties, land and money for white people stealing their land. The Japanese got money for white people putting them in internment camps, the Chinese got money for white people being racially offensive to them, the Jewish got money even though we didn’t have the Holocaust here in America. The only group of people who have not gotten any kind of relief from the damage done by white people is us. So that’s what the reparations is about.”

Asked by one of the students why reparations have not been offered for black Americans, Green replied, “It hasn’t happened yet because I don’t think people can get over the fact that their grandfather owned my grandfather. So for them, I’m always going to be less than them, because their grandfather owned mine, regardless of what I do with my life.”

Not all Burlington’s public servants agree with the idea of reparations. Last year in an interview with True North Reports, Burlington City Councilor Ali Dieng, I-Ward 7, said, “For that reparation, how’s that gonna happen, because it’s now 400 years later? It has been a very, very long time and things have changed,” he said.

Burlington’s racial equity director also offered her views on America’s best known civil rights icons, whom she disparaged for their approval among whites and teaching of nonviolent civil disobedience.

“If you look at what you’re learning in your textbooks, what are you learning besides Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Who are the black heroes of this country besides him and Rosa Parks? So [white people] have taken people who they find acceptable … and they have catapulted them, and they say ‘this is the standard of what you should aspire to be,'” Green said.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. did a lot for black people in this country, but he also ensured that we wouldn’t fight back when people are beating us and spitting on us and killing us. You know, we’re going to turn the other cheek, and white people like that. That’s what they’re going to teach you:  ‘be that docile black man so you can be acceptable to us, don’t step outside of that.’ And that’s wrong. You can step outside of that if you want to.”

Towards the end of the session, Green asks the students to discuss their experiences of living in Vermont. One student’s views about being black in America differed significantly from Green’s.

Jeremia, an immigrant from Tanzania, told Burlington’s racial equity director, “You said ‘you guys need more opportunities for the black community,’ and stuff like that. But to us, the people who just came here like four years ago, I feel like this is the land of opportunity. I feel like I’m getting all the opportunities I can get.”

“Are you saying that you have not experienced any racism here in America because of your black skin?” Green replied?

“Not personally, not personally,” the student said.

Later, Green told the high school students blacks have to face violence in America for being black, no matter what their past nationality or when they arrived.

“If we’re walking down the street together, me and J[eremia], they’re not going to say, ‘Oh yeah J, we know you came from Tanzania so we’re going to let you go, but we know Tyeastia, she descended from slaves, so we’re going to beat the crap out of her.’ Are they going to say that, or are they going to see us both the same? So you have the legacy of slavery at your feet, too.”

Among other initiatives Green has for the city are listening sessions, which will be offered to local BIPOC youth.

“We’re going to have some listening sessions with the youth. It’s going to be BIPOC only — so black, indigenous, people of color only. And eventually we’ll get around to the white people,” she said.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

14 thoughts on “Flashback: Burlington’s racial equity director discusses reparations, MLK and BIPOC-only listening sessions

  1. All you have to do is look at Tyeastia’s history. The minute that I saw she is being brought in from Minneapolis, that tied it all together. That city, Minneapolis, has such a stellar record of destroying a community through racial protest and driving home that blacks are still slaves and purposely held back in employment, education. etc. They hate the police and have defunded and destroyed that organization in Minneapolis. Just like they are trying to do on in Burlington. It is a Democratic party narrative to make blacks dependent on the government for handouts and ignoring high crime statistics in the black community. Reparation is just another gambit. “Keep them on the plantation” has been the objective since the 50’s and even before.

    Mayor Weinberger is scared out of his wits over how the radicals have taken over the city. He plays the game hoping to keep his job. Why would he even want to be mayor is beyond me.

    The city council et al needs to have a session with Candace Owens. She is a highly educated black conservative who has left many a Senator and Congress “person” speechless when she can tear down their racist rhetoric outbursts like Tyeastia spews in her hate minded deluge in a matter of seconds. She would put this “poor me” narrative that Tyeastia pushes into the real world and shut her down in minutes with facts. Of course they would never allow their impressionable followers to hear any argument that is counter to their propaganda.

    • True. Weinberger is the hostage of the black community. My guess is that the black community had more to do with hiring Green her than the mayor. She is a militant.

      As for Candace Owens, not a fan. I can agree with some of what she says but, the anger she expresses it with is a problem.

  2. Has she even been to Vermont?

    “So white people are very rich, right? They have a lot of money, they have fancy houses, and all of that came from us,” she said. “All of us doing their work and then not being paid for it.”

    Try stepping outside of Burlington.

    This lady is trash.

  3. “If you are taught bitterness and anger then you will believe you are a victim. You will feel aggrieved and the twin brother of aggrievement is entitlement. So now you feel you are owed something and you don’t have to work for it. And now you are in a really bad place on a road to nowhere where there are people who will play to that sense of victimhood, aggrievement, and entitlement. And! You still won’t have a job.”

    Condoleeza Rice

  4. I would ask but one question of her.
    When was the last time a person of color was beaten up in the State of Vermont just for being a person of color?
    Note her answer to the young man from Tanzania who sees nothing but opportunity where she sees nothing but hate and blame. She has been indoctrinated and brainwashed to hate the fact that she is black and to blame all of her life’s failings on that. In reality it is this belief that holds her back.

  5. In my family history we have long past relatives who served in the Civil War to save “black lives (matters)”….one killed, others wounded….and one came out fine. Hundreds of thousands of young, white, notherners gave their all, their lives….their wounds – to FREE black slaves who were…enslaved by who? DEMOCRATS! And it is the same democrat southerners who founded the KKK. HOW COME the lady in BTV does not admit this? SO? If black descendants who lost NOTHING in the civil war, like whites in north did…then I propose that white descendants of the civil war then demand, or sue, for all the money BACK from black reparations paid…. to give proper remuneration to the white families who lost so much…in actual death… to save them.

  6. Wow, that was some performance by Ms. Green, the person the City of Burlington has hired to bring unity to the community by overcoming racial division.

    Based on the message she delivered to the young men in the video, it looks more like she’s seeking revenge and retribution for past incidents real or imagined…….She is sadly sowing anger and division with her words at the expense of building racial unity.

    The idea of Blacks wanting revenge is not new in Burlington. It is a charge recently made by Kyle Dobson, a prominent Burlington Black man, who was hired to look into transforming the Burlington Police Department. Upon concluding his police department work, Dobson said “The community didn’t want transformation. Blacks and activists want revenge……..That’s understandable, but deeply problematic.” Instead of seeking to understand Dobson’s observation, Ms. Green attacked him.

    See: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2021/03/26/dodson-plagiarized-portions-of-report-on-burlington-police-transformation

    The question now: Is Ms. Green building racial unity and belonging or stoking anger and division in the community?……A question the Mayor and City Council of Burlington need to consider.

  7. More liberal nonsense Burlington’s ” racial equity ” director, a nice title for a man-made
    position for a quota, but then discusses reparations, why what did she, or these other
    fools believe how they’ve been

    So if their ancestors were still alive they should get some form of reparation, for what they
    had to deal with, but these current clowns haven’t earned one penny, probably been on
    the government ” tit ” their entire life.

    Instead of being thankful for what their ancestors endured, with all the trials & tribulations,
    all these clowns want is a handout……..pretty pathetic !!

    If Burlington wants to save money, fire the “racial equity director ” another liberal job not
    needed.

  8. Bless her heart. We’ve reached a diversity high point. We actually use our tax money to hire folks with such a florid delusional network.

  9. The problem with people like her is she wants something she didn’t earn. She and reparation advocates believe the “poor me” theory of economics. She should consider, then, that she and all Blacks should pay reparations to all the Northern white generations of families that lost their sons to free them so she, eventually, could be hired by a northern city to run around freely spouting her nonsense.

  10. Seems this guy must have worked for Disney. He certainly is in fantasy land.

    “If we’re walking down the street together, me and J[eremia], they’re not going to say, ‘Oh yeah J, we know you came from Tanzania so we’re going to let you go, but we know Tyeastia, she descended from slaves, so we’re going to beat the crap out of her.’

    Yup, that is the first thing that comes to mind when I see 2 blacks walking on the street ….. beat the crap out of them. Thank you Mr. Green for helping me understand my problem. I would be willing to help you understand yours.

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