‘Facts, half-truths, and other rapid-fire information’ dominated meeting

GUILFORD — Like many, I tend to hang out with people who have the same basic beliefs and preferences as I do. But I also realize that this practice can give me a biased view of what's going on around me. I know there is a value in my thoughts being challenged and questioned by people whose views differ.

With that in mind, I decided to attend a meeting of Vermonters for Vermont (V4V).

The description of the meeting in the newspaper was not very clear but did indicate the meeting would address what unfortunately is being commonly referred to as “critical race theory.” (I don't know who created this label but, like all labels, it does not capture my views about teaching and understanding historical and current truths.)

I am passionate about doing what I can to help address the injustices we have inflicted, and continue to inflict, upon the historically marginalized people in our country, so this topic piqued my interest.

In the gathering, I'd guess of at least 60 people, there were four speakers. My partner and I stayed for the first three, so we missed the last one and the question-and-answer session.

After the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of “God Bless America,” the speakers took turns. All were extremely passionate in their remarks, sometimes using words like “idiots” in referring to the un-likeminded. Facts, half-truths, and other information were delivered, sometimes in such a rapid-fire manner, it was hard to take it in.

The reason I bother to write about this is because of the impact the meeting had on me.

It reminded me how important it is, regardless of one's passion, to refrain from attacking language and the utterance of half-truths. (Yes, “there were Black slaveowners,” but they did so only to protect their loved ones.)

In the remarks I heard, there were some good points made (fair treatment of our veterans) that are clearly worth addressing but they were clouded by the overall delivery method (shouting), the language (“the coloreds”), and some of the content presented.

If I took literally what I heard that night, especially if I were BIPOC, I'd be frustrated, angry, and afraid. Gaining allegiance through fear is an age-old tactic that, history tells us, leads to catastrophic results.

Although we are a long way from resolving this internal conflict in our country, there is a solution, and that is educating our kids with the unbiased truths about historical and current events.

Throughout my education as a child and a young adult, the atrocities committed in Greenwood, Okla., the enslavement practices of our country's founders, and the significant accomplishments of many BIPOC people were never mentioned or were glossed over.

The good news: We are fortunate that in our current school system, we have many dedicated teachers and staff who are committed to truthful teaching and to diversity, equity, and social justice work.

Through this effort, our kids will eventually lead us out of this darkness that is hurting all of us.

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