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Black Males in the Green Mountains

Colorblindness and Cultural Competence in Vermont Public Schools


Denise Helen Dunbar

Mention the state of Vermont and images of maple syrup, scenic mountains, and progressive politics come to mind. But in addition to skiing, farming, and fall foliage, there is also a startling history of racial and religious intolerance and bigotry. Burlington is known as the birthplace of John Dewey, whose enlightened views about education reached far beyond the Green Mountains to impact schools. Yet there exist many unsavory examples of equitable education deferred for a small but growing population. Black males, especially, have not been treated fairly – suffering in silence as a disproportional number are shunted away from opportunities such as college-prep courses and instead, into special education, the principal’s office, and out the door due to suspension. This book seeks to answer the question: What is truly going on for Black males in Vermont public schools? Only those who were students in public schools across the state can really answer that question, and their perspectives help shed light on the condition of Black males in predominantly white rural spheres experiencing similar shifts in racial demographics across the nation.