Responding to Alis Headlam’s “Vermonters, take off the blinders,” I must say I was offended.
I do agree there is a lot of work to be done regarding racism. And racism is ugly, hatred is wrong, and we are all guilty.
I grew up in Vermont. I am Irish-Italian, which makes me part of the predominant white culture here in Vermont.
What this article claimed was that I’m a racist because I grew up and reside in Vermont. I wonder how someone I’ve never met, someone I’ve never spoken to “knows” I wear blinders by choice to protect myself.
I am saddened with what’s happening in this country, and I am bothered by a Vermonter writing an article that might hold truth to some, but not all.
Yes, we need change, and maybe Headlam was onto something with the blinders. How do we solve racism? Not by writing a letter making claims by telling myself and others in the Rutland area that we don’t care, that we don’t want our daily lives disrupted, and we don’t want to see or hear anything that will interfere with the culture we grew up in, one that nurtures fear and differences.
Let’s get back to the blinders.
We are all created equal under God, in His image, yet we fail to recognize this fact. Jesus teaches us to love one another, as we are loved by God. We are to humble ourselves and put ourselves second. Jesus taught empathy, compassion and love. Furthermore, He taught us forgiveness.
My heart tells me racism exists because this country, this world, wears blinders that don’t allow God’s light in.
What’s hard is looking in the mirror because we see the truth staring back at us, and maybe what we fear is ourselves. I’ll never be perfect, the wrinkles on my face and my gray hair prove to me I struggle everyday. It is each and every one of us who need to stop and ask, why am I better than my neighbor, when we are not. We live in a broken society, and our pasts influence our daily lives. Hurt, anger, feelings of resentment and hatred are a burden. Our lack of forgiveness is toxic to ourselves and those around us. Peace inside comes from God, all goodness comes from God. This leads to our standards of good and evil. Where do our standards of good and evil come from? One person’s good is another man’s evil. When do we individually recognize the need to humble ourselves and see we need guidance from something bigger than ourselves. We cannot live our lives leaning on our own understanding.
Do we have blinders on, and if we do, what are we really hiding from? God, our creator. He teaches us the truth and balance of good and evil. We are given the gift and the ability to make our own choices, but we need to know Him to know the difference between the two. Having the ability to make choices can, and will, lead to mistakes. We can choose to have a relationship with our Father who waits for us to ask for His wisdom and understanding to guide us and lead us in the right direction.
Fear, acceptance and humbling ourselves before God, the One who created us and the world around us, will change our hearts, all of our hearts. God is good and is our source of love and understanding and truth.
We, as Vermonters, can beat racism, day by day, one heart at a time.
Headlam, I condone your efforts to bring awareness to such a heavy topic that needs to be addressed in many, if not all, aspects of our lives.
Let’s be thankful, let’s humble ourselves and help our brothers and sisters who need us.
Valorie Taylor lives in Mendon.