Disparities don’t mean racism
I read the recent editorial titled “Diversify” with great interest. As an ethnic minority who decided to start a family in Rutland a few years ago, I was very interested to read the evidence of my new home being systemically racist against me. Unfortunately, what I found was just an unfounded claim. Racial disparities do not prove racism. Statistical disparities tell you what is, not why it is. The “why” is the key. You have to take the next step to prove how racism caused the disparity in question.
As a Puerto Rican myself, I can think of many reasons why there is not an extensive Puerto Rican population in Vermont. None of them require systemic racism. The fact is that different people have different preferences, and there are a number of preferences Puerto Ricans tend to have that would lead them to not choose to live in Vermont. We need not accuse my fellow Vermonters of being racist to explain these disparities unless there is clear evidence of racism. Neighborhoods aren’t segregated by law in Vermont; rather people choose to live where the want and can afford. Unless you can demonstrate racism is at play, there simply is not enough evidence to make the sweeping claim that Vermont is systemically racist.
The article also claims thatVermontis“ too white.” I wonder who decides what the appropriate level of white is? Why is too much white (whatever that means) a bad thing? I have had plenty of interactions with white people in Vermont, and they certainly seem like good folks to me. Let’s not give in to the temptation to paint white Vermonters with a broad brush. That is, after all, the primary tool of racists.