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Old 04-28-2014, 07:03 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,988 times
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Vermont is a wonderful and historical small town state. It has more rolling mountains and green hills then the eyes can see. With it's fair share of gloomy days, being that we are in the New England province it's expected. It snows 6 months out of the year, and maybe a nice run of rain going into full spring. The many people here are great for small town folk. Although, some here can make your experience very uncomfortable. I being a "city boy" growing up in Washington, DC and Maryland. Also being raised in Panama City Beach, FL gives me another look at race and diversity.

As someone not of the social norm here in Vermont. Meaning I am black, and in a biracial relationship. There are somethings here that folk's seem to white wash. Oh, and yes I know that I maybe looking in it too deeply, but I've done plenty in the way of soul searching. Here are some examples:

- N*gger Rigging: The first thing I heard when I came to VT, and the girl who said it thought it was okay to say it simply due to the fact she felt she wasn't racist.

* As if me saying Cr*cker Rigging wouldn't be taken out of context.

- talk down:
1. To depreciate: talked down the importance of the move.
2. To speak with insulting condescension: talked down to her subordinates.
3. To silence (a person), especially by speaking in a loud and domineering manner.
4. To direct and control (the flight of an aircraft during an approach for landing) by radioed instructions either from the ground or a nearby aircraft.

These are defined examples above of what Caucasian Vermonter's have done to either foreign speaking immigrants of brown skin or myself. These people are from another country, not another world. They speak some English and still learning more, but they are not stupid by any means... Nor am I. Vermonter's of coarse I'm speaking generally here. Have a way of seeing the world through the experiences of others. Either through TV or Friends telling stories about an issue with someone not of the same color or nationality. Then developing an opinion about an entire race based on false representation.

The last example that most folks don't understand:

- Friendliness: Being too nice can make people feel very uncomfortable. As if your intent of asking so many questions is to dig into someone's past or private life. Vermonter's take offence when you don't want to share your life journey with them. Being black I must be up to something... lol

This is a bad thing to not have your business in the streets!? I can tell you countless times while in the work place Vermonter's ask "getting to know you questions". Where my response is " I'm not really here to make friends". Folk's there is a big deference from small talk and prying. And in the work place is just that for work. Most folks just want to work, get there pay, and go home. I have nothing to hide. I just grew up not asking questions except for the important ones. A carefree attitude when it comes to others private lives. Is a national and international social taboo.

The only way Vermont can be diversified is to see that there are bad habit's. Yes everyone has them it's human nature. Though sliding the fault of ones self is easy. Can you truly look yourself in the eye everyday and lie. Telling yourself that when someone not like you walks down the street. That you don't give them a wide birth, can barely look them in the eye even though you're saying hello. Or when someone not like you is hired to work for you/w you, you treat them as work horses. Good enough to work as you janitors or hard laborers than equals. I know someone will say... " what do you mean? I have a black guy that works in my office" Yes you may, but at what capacity. There is nothing more demeaning then the token anybody. As in earlier text above... I'm not from NY I don't and have never sold drugs. I have two college degree's and put myself through school. I have a beautiful women by my side. Though because of these bad habit's and I call Vermonter's out on them.

I can't find work (deemed a whistle blower I guess) to feed, cloth, and take take care of simple bills. Forced to live on welfare. Which is funny, because I am forced to live the social norm of 90% of blacks in this country in a state where I don't have to given my work history. I'm not in anyway anti-social, angry/ mad. It's called being focused on my goals. Vermonter's can be very wonderful people, I've seen it. Although, too many make it hard for all whom want, need, and deserve equality.

My name is as the poster... Lets see if anger or understanding are your bed fellows

Last edited by Faheem Carter; 04-28-2014 at 07:11 AM..
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,851 posts, read 54,134,324 times
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Excellent post! I'll fully admit that having grown up in Vermont in the 1950s, n*gger-rigging was a very common colloquial term that I used and never gave any particular thought to. I think that it was as much about classism as racism though. Vermont was intensely white to the point that the few blacks were divorced from any greater black culture and integrated into the general population. I'm not saying that there weren't racists, but that without a local group of blacks to stereotype, the disdain and hatred of those people found expression elsewhere. Blacks were simply a non-issue most of the time. There was a group of black soldiers stationed at Ft. Ethan Allen at one point, - 1940s? - that deported themselves so well that even the racists had nothing to enflame the locals with. I'll admit though, if I had been a member of that regiment I would have been scared to death and ready to leave.

The more common groups for derision varied with the times. Going way back, British loyalists were tossed off their land and shoved into Canada. The French were then derided, then there was a period when the Fennians and Irish were distrusted, and then the Italian stone workers. The common thread was the Catholic faith, and the deep distrust of the Catholic church passed down from generation to generation, likely having roots back in England. The hippies came in for their fair share of derision for a while as well from a population that was once the most Republican conservative of Republican conservatives.

If I may be bold, a lot of Vermonters are reserved and even introverted to the point that they appear unfriendly. From your statement, it sounds like some are over-compensating by trying to be outgoing or making connection, and being incredibly awkward. (We Vermonters can be good at that.) Just passing off someone unusual as another person can be difficult unless you have the background of a more cosmopolitan setting.

Oh yeah "As if me saying Cr*cker Rigging wouldn't be taken out of context." The interesting thing about the context of a quick or shoddy repair is that it is NOT race-specific as much as class labeling. It didn't morph to "Cr*cker Rigging," but instead to "Redneck Engineering." Crackers is too broad, and the intended pejorative not as pointed.

BTW, I liked your wordplay/pun on "Vermonters of coarse."
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:34 AM
 
221 posts, read 266,065 times
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I'm sorry you've had a bad experience. I have not been here very long myself(almost 10 months) but I have actually found that most people are quite overly politically correct. Ya almost feel at times like you can't joke around the same way you can in other places cause people might be offended and/or might think you are racist. I have also found that while maybe not THE most friendly place in the world, it is honest and genuine. I'll take quite friendly but honestly and genuinely over extremely friendly but fake like most places are. Also, I am not black, and probably don't look too different from most caucasians. But I am Jewish and I am of a different nationality(Israel), and I have found most people to be very open and welcoming.
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:46 PM
 
Location: CA
36 posts, read 57,473 times
Reputation: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faheem Carter View Post
- Friendliness: Being too nice can make people feel very uncomfortable. As if your intent of asking so many questions is to dig into someone's past or private life. Vermonter's take offence when you don't want to share your life journey with them. Being black I must be up to something... lol

This is a bad thing to not have your business in the streets!? I can tell you countless times while in the work place Vermonter's ask "getting to know you questions". Where my response is " I'm not really here to make friends". Folk's there is a big deference from small talk and prying. And in the work place is just that for work. Most folks just want to work, get there pay, and go home. I have nothing to hide. I just grew up not asking questions except for the important ones. A carefree attitude when it comes to others private lives. Is a national and international social taboo.
Thank you so much for this WELL WRITTEN POST. Seriously...

What I quoted up above is what made me say "OMG.... you're so right..."
When I moved to VT and started working, it was amazing at how people would pry into your personal life. Like.... I was engaged, had a very simple life with her and just.... wanted to work. BUT, anyone i came into contact with, whether the gas station, in the work place, wanted to know EVERYTHING! "Who are you... where do you live? who's your fiancé? where is she from... oh, i know her parents... did you know that... etc etc etc. What school did you go to? Do you know so and so..?"

I was like.... "DUDE!!!!! MAY I JUST GET BACK TO WORK OR COMPLETE THIS TRANSACTION? I don't know you!" hahahah

Anyways, I fell in love with the state, but it does get a little aggravating with how people always want to know every single thing about you.

I can't imagine the difference being an African American from the DC area moving to such a state as VT versus me being caucasian from California... You seem to have your head held high and have an awesome attitude towards Humans as a whole. Keep up the integrity my friend.
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:47 PM
 
Location: CA
36 posts, read 57,473 times
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Also, can't people just replace that damn N word with "Jerry," when talking about rigging?.... lol God, people...
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,851 posts, read 54,134,324 times
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Jerry rigging casts aspersions upon those of Germanic ancestry. Being interested in history and having access to older materials, some of the stuff I've found from the WW I era is pretty nasty profiling. All part of normal propaganda of the time. The bottom line is that the phrase is INTENDED as a pejorative against those who do low cost improvisations with limited materials. Perhaps it should be called rocket scientist rigging, since the talent was the only thing that brought the Apollo 13 astronauts back.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:11 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,988 times
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All current comments are pretty up to date... As in all people need a strong foundation built in solid ground. Although, chance for progression has to take place before any of us can move forward. Today I was working for a temp agency via construction for $8.73 an hour integrity aside I did the job. Though, every time I work these types of jobs I come to look at each job as clear as they are.

Janitorial... Yeah not as colorful as any other word. Hard labor would seem to be the only work that anyone can get in VT, but 90% of non-Caucasian employees of a darker complexion hold positions of janitorial staff then in a more corporeal sense, working a job closer to there wanted field. Yes, I know many of us aren't living the dream, but it shouldn't feel like this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w70RQLtdVeU. Now my point for stating the "rigging factor" wasn't to adopt subterfuge of the subject, but to encase the random view of Vermonter's compared to the rest of this nation. No one can remember where Jerry Rigging even comes from let alone the connection to Germans. N*gger is a taboo word in general. Though most would argue that well black guys use that word all the time. Though that is true it doesn't make it right.

If I were to use the word it would 9/10 be for what it was intended. It's not right that I say it or even think it, but I grew up on another level. What these kids today are doing is trying to bring a callus word into a nice perspective. What they don't get is that the perspective can remain, but the word needs to vanish internally... With in all races. The conspiracy that all stories about the people you're clueless about needs to be realized. I implore anyone if you wish to step out side that shell... Travel to places where the people don't look or speak as you do.

Don't speak to those folks right off. Just try not to make eyecontact, but listen... Really pay attention. There issues are no different from your own. Oh and before I forget. You don't have to say to every non-Caucasian you meet and say " you know I had a best friend that was black etc. in school". It makes you sound even more of a jerk for having to validate how comfortable you aren't. Also to those whom have only been here a short while... Not knowing your financial status. Money no matter where you are says more than need be. If you fall at the poverty line and nearly look it then people look at you strangely. Burlington is a good view of this... Experiment for a bit. Stay in the shelter for at least two nights. Walk with some of the people going to the food shelf or salvation army for a meal. At the same time pay close attention to how the people respond to your presence. Try it and let me know how you feel about those "honest and genuine" people. Learn to read body language. It's the one thing growing up in the city has taught me. That what the mouth wont say the body will and loud.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,064,950 times
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This is a great topic. For some reason people on the forum are always saying that this is such a diverse state, but in reality it's the opposite. This discussion was talked about in the past on this forum. Northern New England is the least diverse section of the country. This is not my opinion, this is a fact that has had national attention and the Census data proves it. John Tucker of the Peace and Justice Center in Burlington stated that African-Americans find it hard to live in theses states. He also said that being black in Vermont is like being Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball's color barrier. The fact is Northern New England is 96% white.

I'm not black so I don't have that prespective, but I have heard slurs even with my nationality. I look white so people are not always cautious with what they say around me. What I find interesting is they way people act around black people or people of other ethnic backgrounds. They don't treat them like they would any other person. It's as if they go out of their way to be overly nice as if they are saying, hey I'm not racist. Because of my background with Uncle Sam, I'm a people watcher or I pay attention to body language. What you stated about how people act around other races struck a tone with me. People don't have to say a word to understand what they are thinking. When someone states they think of everyone as equal. Pay attention to their body language around someone different. By watching peoples actions says more than any word. Not only do people give more room to a black person walking down the street or in a mall, but look at people around someone of a different race and watch how they look directly and fixedly, often with a wide-eyed gaze. It may even be more subtle. They may do a few quick glances. It could even be the opposite. They may be how you described it as prying into your life. They ask all sorts of personal questions or go out of their way to be nice. People who don't pay attention to race treat everyone the same. They can be polite and say hi to a stranger and that's it. Most people don't go around striking up a conversation and digging into peoples lives who they don't know. People on the forum often times will talk about how fake the south is. People are overly nice. It's no different here. We just do it to different races and not everyone.

The data I looked at was about 5 years old, but I imagine the data has not changed dramatically. The primary reason the data is lacking is Vermont is one of two states that does not track racial profiling issues. Most police forces in Vermont continue to have profiling issues and that has been heightened lately because of the drug trafficing problem. Vermont is 4th in the nation in incarceration rates for African Americans and when looking at the ratio of white incarceration rates to black incarceration rates, Vermont comes in second only to Iowa. We also rank #11 in per capita race-related hate crime rates in the US.

This is not a slam on Vermont. The racial issue is an issue throughout the country. It's just worse than people think in Vermont.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:37 AM
 
1,135 posts, read 1,840,986 times
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Well OP, thank you for one thing; I thought my father invented the term "n**** rigging" as a kid and once I got a bit older I told him that wasn't nice and he changed it to afro engineering. I didn't think that nice either but you can only correct your elders and parents to a point. They learned what they were taught and luckily my generation didn't "catch" that mindset. Small town=small mind syndrome as I refer to it.

Indeed, VT is not that hospitable; not like the throw their arms around you South. But, It's not just color, as you might perceive. It's any out of stater, woman, or who they perceive as different. As in, if you didn't have family born here since the inception of the original colonies, you don't count. Not a big deal, just be who you are and be a good person and eventually most of the locals come around. Sure they will test you, since a lot of people don't stick around. How thick is your skin, more so than what color is it. Do you have cajones and tenacity? Are you a hard worker and are you honest? I think a lot of VT culture goes back a few decades when what you did and how you handled yourself/others greatly dictated how others viewed you. Nobody is really relying upon a politically correct book with threats of lawsuits hanging overhead. So, in a way you get more authentic people versus a lot of city two faced people.

Sure a lot of Vermonters are lacking diversity of engaging with all people and they are at a disadvantage. Their loss. I think the influx of out of staters helps bring them up to speed. As with all change, some go willingly and others go kicking and screaming.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:06 AM
 
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Faheem, thank you for bringing attention to the marginalization that you've experienced in our "fair" state. I am, too, a black American living in Vermont (and in a bi-racial marriage).

While I have not encountered the n***** rigging slang, I certainly can relate to your observation about being talked down to. This is particularly unnerving for me, as my educational background is quite extensive (which is openly disclosed and required in my line of work as a college professor).

Please read the following entry about microaggressions (scroll down to 'racial microaggressions'): [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression]Microaggression - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]

I immediately realized this concept reflected my experiences as a black person living in Vermont. As a result, I am leaving the state because it simply impairs my quality of life. Keep in mind that I grew up in a rural, forested and cutesy small town on the Pennsylvania state line (population: ±30,000). However, I can't stand it any longer and need to GTFO.

I concur that MANY people are quite warm, genuine, friendly and welcoming. The scenery, indeed, is very idyllic. However, in my opinion the few rotten apples spoil the bunch and my job as a professor is now a living hell (thanks especially to Vermont student natives that treat me like dirt). The passive aggressive nature of racial microaggressions takes a seriously mental and emotional toll on an individual. Please take good care of yourself!
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