Driving While Black and Brown in Vermont

I recently had the opportunity to have lunch with Dr. Stephanie Seguino, a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Vermont. We ate at a wonderful Burlington, VT establishment called Stone Soup. She is the co-author of a study titled, “Driving While Black and Brown in Vermont.”

This is such an interesting study, because most people don’t think there could be many significant racial problems in the progressive Northeast. This is something we have noticed throughout our travels in the area. If no one thinks there is a problem, it is hard to do something about it. One of my favorite lines in her report is as follows:

“Vermont is perceived by many to be a political outlier in the United States. It was the first state to outlaw slavery in 1777… When it comes to race relations, it is assumed that Vermont is equally liberal and as result, racial bias towards people who are Black and Hispanic, evident in other parts of the country, should largely be absent here.”

As you might imagine, her report showed some real racial disparities throughout Vermont in regards to police work. Her report hasn’t been very well received by some who do not like what the data shows.

It is important for us to understand the facts and that there is a problem before working towards a solution. Thanks to Dr. Seguino for your time and your courageous work to see a more just and equitable society!

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