The existence of racial bias in the United States has been well established by statistics kept by the FBI and the Justice Department.
People of color are more likely to be viewed as suspicious, stopped, questioned, confronted, detained, charged, convicted, imprisoned and killed when engaged in identical activities as their White counterparts.
An incident in Vermont is drawing a spotlight on racial bias once again.
A black man in Vermont told police he was threatened and told to leave the state by a white man, Vermont State Poli… https://t.co/7IomxXBjue— CNN (@CNN) 1589467208.0
Law enforcement and media coverage are two areas where racial bias can be easily identified, studied and documented.
In daily life, the proof is harder to display for people who insist there is no bias and that racism doesn't exist. Even when a black jogger is chased and killed, some people will insist race was not a factor.
Such people see news articles or even videos about incidents of racial bias and decry them as fake news.
@CNN I swear CNN just makes up stories at this point.— James (@James) 1589467394.0
@James07623205 @CNN "i dont want to believe it so it must be fake!" -James(numbers), 2020— SeraphiM0352 (@SeraphiM0352) 1589467812.0
@CNN Anyone wanna make bets that this is a hoax?— TW Beckett - A Father's Journey (@TW Beckett - A Father's Journey) 1589467251.0
@TW_Beckett @CNN People like this probably... https://t.co/WvTbVggQzX— Michael Farrell (@Michael Farrell) 1589467280.0
@TW_Beckett @CNN Dude probably calls people snowflakes all day lmfao https://t.co/yNZnDBi2k8— Michael Farrell (@Michael Farrell) 1589467498.0
Despite people who insist it can't be true, the incident prompted Republican Governor Phil Scott to issue an apology "on behalf of the state of Vermont" to a family from Hartford, Vermont after they were harassed while driving a car with New York license plates and told "the governor did not want them [in Vermont]."
Governor Scott said:
"And … they were, amongst other things, told they were not welcome here and that the governor did not want them here either. And sadly this happened in front of their 11-year-old child."
"Even more disturbing was the racial undertone used during this exchange with the individual, who is a person of color."
"So let me be very clear: This is not acceptable and it can't be tolerated and there's no excuse for it."
Scott clarified that he asked people with family in Vermont or with second homes in the state should not violate stay at home orders to try to come to Vermont.
@CNN This is so sad and uncalled for. Isn't there a law about racism? If not, there should be and jail time with it.— Denise (@Denise) 1589467329.0
@CNN So a guy with New York license plates was told to go back to New York? Didn’t every state in the nation also do that?— xcal4490 (@xcal4490) 1589467547.0
@maddi23r5 @CNN How do you know he is not from Vermont? Also how would you feel if I came up to you and told you… https://t.co/LXLTJQFhFN— PKbret (@PKbret) 1589471865.0
Scott added Vermonters should welcome everyone, however.
"This virus cannot be used as an excuse for hate, bigotry or division of any type for any reason. We cannot let this become an us-versus-them situation, and I want to make sure everyone hears that."
@CNN Is this 1820 or 2020 ?— tommy (@tommy) 1589467439.0
@tommybuffometal @CNN Let's have a look: Diseases all over the place Sanitation not up to standard Segregation bas… https://t.co/YRUv69qg2N— JustATwit (@JustATwit) 1589468047.0
In March, the governor said:
"We can't let this become an us-versus them view of the world."
"That's not who we are as Americans and certainly not as Vermonters, and we shouldn't let anything change that."
Scott's more recent comments were to:
"[Clear up] any misconception about my views, because my name was inferred in [the incident]."
Governor Scott also took to his Twitter account to address the need for civility.
THREAD: We know we can’t let our guard down while fighting this virus, but we also can’t ease up on our commitment… https://t.co/Ot3HG9lwAP— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382559.0
I learned of a family in Hartford - who had New York plates on their car, even though they became Vermonters a few… https://t.co/7BdPK28cLa— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382560.0
Sadly, this happened in front of their 11-year-old child. I want to be VERY clear: I have no tolerance for this ki… https://t.co/DunHceLxhV— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382560.0
While we have travel restrictions to protect public health, when I announced this guidance, I said explicitly we ca… https://t.co/SrcvFsQkoE— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382560.0
Making this situation in Hartford even more disturbing was the racial undertone used during the exchange with the i… https://t.co/DYO78u32XB— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382561.0
Here’s the bottom line: Concerns about this virus CANNOT be used as an excuse for hate, bigotry, or division - of a… https://t.co/xuhig8vL6a— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382561.0
We’re all in this together, and human decency will help get us through this challenging time. Let’s remember, our c… https://t.co/9WtX6dc53a— Governor Phil Scott (@Governor Phil Scott) 1589382562.0
@GovPhilScott hey @GOP look what is possible within your party when you don't cave to supreme leader and his cronies...— db (@db) 1589383760.0
Vermont State Police are investigating the harassment of the family. They are Vermont residents, but still drive a car with New York license plates.
Many state Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices are closed across the country. Each state is handling the issuing of and renewal of licenses, license plates and vehicle registrations in different ways.
The book Race on the Brain: What Implicit Bias Gets Wrong About the Struggle for Racial Justice is available here.