By John Klar
In a June 21 press release, Vermont governor Phil Scott announced his decision to hire Xusana Davis, a thirty-year-old from New York City, as “the state’s first executive director of racial disparity.” Ms. Davis has been commissioned “to identify and address systemic racial disparities and support the state’s efforts to expand and bring diversity to Vermont’s overall population[.]” But it is far from clear that there are any “systemic racial disparities” to address.
Governor Scott and Vermont attorney general T.J. Donovan have vocally condemned the Green Mountain State and its inhabitants as racist, based on statistics that show that blacks are incarcerated at a higher rate than whites and are more likely to be stopped by police. But there has been no analysis of whether these disparities are due to higher arrest rates of “people of color” as a consequence of a thriving opioid crisis.
Vermont’s culture is one of dairy farming, verdant mountain scenery, maple syrup, and small-town hospitality. Both the governor and the gubernatorial hopeful who may oppose him next year openly characterize Vermonters’ culture as innately racist. Scott praised Donovan’s Report declaring Vermont a “White Supremacy Culture” and proudly signed a law March 29 that will create a school curriculum designed to “change the underlying culture of our state.”
Like all states, Vermont has racists. But slavery was never legal in Vermont, being banned in the first state constitution in America. The first (and only pre–Civil War) black elected to a state Legislature (in 1836) was Vermont’s Alexander Twilight, who was also the first black college graduate in America (Middlebury College).
When statistics other than arrests and incarceration are considered, Vermont remains distinct for its egalitarian, “live-and-let-live” culture. It has the smallest income disparity in the country between blacks and whites, and a higher percentage of black residents hold college degrees than whites. As one of the most tolerant states toward redefining marriage, it is incongruous to suggest that this flaming progressive haven for decrepit hippies is some sort of newly discovered Confederate state. Vermont nearly elected a transgender governor and overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama in two elections (67.46% in 2008; 66.57% in 2012 — only Hawaii and D.C. voted in higher support).
The actual cause of disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates in Vermont is likely the swelling drug trade, in which cartels move cheap Mexican White heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine throughout New England. There is less competition (and prices are higher) in Vermont’s high-demand towns than in the cities where the dealers travel from — Springfield and Boston in Massachusetts; Hartford and Willimantic, Connecticut (the heroin capital of the East Coast); New York City; Newark, N.J. Inner-city gang violence and murder rates are not a product of race — they are a product of culture.
To label the state’s police, judges, juries, and attorneys racist without examining the geographical origin or past histories of the defendants is more than reckless — it is sabotage. This undermines morale and criticizes police and others on the front line who have constitutionally enforced important criminal laws, at risk to their own safety. Yet Donovan has had the audacity to say “that respecting the work of other prosecutors is crucial to maintaining the public trust.”
Governor Scott’s Opioid Coordination Council has called for increased investigations of drug-trafficking. But if, in fact, much of the drug traffic is conducted by non-white gangs, or thugs from neighboring (disproportionately black and Hispanic) urban cultures, increased investigations will likely yield more stops and incarcerations of “people of color.” Will Governor Scott, the ACLU, and A.G. Donovan cry foul yet again, without examining geographical origin or past out-of-state conviction history as possible correlative links?
Vermont’s culture is nonviolent, with one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. Drug-dealers find easy prey in such safe “territory,” and, if apprehended, they will get lighter sentences than in those more battle-worn states — in safer, more comfortable prisons. Experienced street cons know that running an illicit narcotics operation has nothing to do with race. But white dealers in Vermont can’t invoke skin color as a last-ditch shield against detention, or search, or sentencing. Those defenses are only available only to “the systemically oppressed.”
Could Vermont’s attorney general and governor do any more to expand the sales force dispensing fentanyl to Vermont’s guilted, white-privileged children? Indeed, they have! Both have opposed federal immigration enforcement. Governor Scott vowed noncompliance, then championed legislation that defied federal registration of illegal aliens. Both advocated for special driver’s licenses for illegals, even as Vermont law suspends the licenses of native white men for nonpayment of child support. Both have called for illegals to relocate to Vermont. Scott’s recent press release recites his goal of increasing “the state’s efforts to expand and bring diversity to Vermont’s overall population.”
Forced busing of schoolchildren was premised on the idea of rectifying economic disparities between races, not disparities in rates of commission of felonies. Governor Scott is essentially advocating for forced busing of adults of color from around the country to Vermont, solely because Vermont is predominantly white. As the Vermont people’s self-declared, virtue-signaling apologist, this pseudo-Republican garners great admiration for offering up the scapegoat of collective white guilt on behalf of the native-born citizenry. That is, Scott employs contrition toward blacks to manipulate and obtain power over whites. Perhaps he should mandate a Black Lives Matter symbol on the Cabot Cheese label, or erect billboards depicting barefoot slaves hauling wooden sap buckets through deep snow to the old sugar house, sporting a race-healing slogan: “We’re so sorry!”
Like the wave of fentanyl being funneled along the heroin pipeline to Chittenden County, Vermont’s enlightened progressive conquerors have found willing naïve slaves in the likes of Scott and Donovan, to usher in “greater diversity.” Meanwhile, the number of American Indians residing in Vermont has declined precipitously. The native Abenakis, having been wiped out by whites, are utterly ignored by Progressives (there are approximately four times more blacks than American Indians in Vermont).
What is not clear is whether Governor Scott’s paternalistic expansion of Vermont’s diversity on behalf of its residents will embrace Ugandan orphans, Rohingya refugees, Somali Muslims, or maybe some Pacific Islanders (a paltry 0.03% of the state’s population). Perhaps he will pay them $10,000 each to relocate — passport not required; criminal record erased; “driving privilege card” provided; no questions asked about unpaid child support. The (systemically racist?) government will defy federal immigration law enforcement efforts; the police will hesitate to stop and search “minority offenders.”
Sadly for Vermont and the future of its indigenous white population, these “diversity” policies invite criminal elements among illegal aliens and inner-city blacks to Vermont, like a tourism brochure for gangsters. Vermont police must err on the side of avoiding detention of blacks and Hispanics (“the Ferguson effect“) because of a racial mischaracterization of a cultural problem, by those charged with protecting the citizenry. Street violence is caused by poverty and an “honor culture,” not race.
Scott and Donovan haven’t enumerated what quota of token (inner-city?) blacks will be statutorily required to sufficiently “increase the representation of people of color in the State” to rectify Vermont’s systemic cultural deficiencies. But as more Vermont-born white kids die than blacks from narcotics overdose, those numbers should balance out. Perhaps that’s the “white fragility” that Vermont’s new teaching curriculum requires be taught to K–12 children?
Calling people racist who are not is ignorant. Calling all people of one race privileged, or inherently racist or guilty, based solely on skin color, is racism. Defaming Vermont’s rich tradition of hard work and rugged individualism without evidence, is indefensible. As Governor Phil Scott has insisted, “we must speak out against racism and fascism in any form, at any scale, any time they rear their ugly head.”
Phil Scott is using false allegations of racism to dismantle Vermont’s culture, after promising that he would “[n]ot support, or carry out, experiments at taxpayers’ expense.” Instead, Vermont is now America’s Petri dish, incubating a new racist virus that enables opioids to be funneled from the ghettoes to the privileged backwoods redneck children.
May God help us.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. This commentary was originally published at American Thinker.