Vermont Governor Phil Scott has adopted a seemingly racist vaccine-distribution policy, making Covid-19 jabs available to non-white residents who are at least 16 years old but limiting the shots to those age 50 and up for whites.
“If you or anyone in your household identifies as black, indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, all household members who are 16 years,” Scott, who identifies as Republican, announced on Thursday. And to clarify, by Scott’s definition, white is not a color.
If you or anyone in your household identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, all household members who are 16 years or older can sign up to get a vaccine! Get yours at ⤵️ https://t.co/hVgb9rzQPn
— Governor Phil Scott (@GovPhilScott) April 1, 2021
Vermont already offers vaccination clinics specifically for people from BIPOC households. The state’s eligibility criteria also favors certain other categories of people – including conventional high-priority segments such as school and health care workers – and “English language learners and people in immigrant/refugee communities.” Immigrants also have dedicated clinics available to them.
“We still have much more to do to address the significant disparities in the rates of Covid-19 infection, hospitalization and death among Vermonters who are black, indigenous and people of color,” the state health department said on its website.
This coordinated vaccination effort is an important step in working with and compensating trusted community partner networks to reach some of the most historically marginalized people in Vermont.
But critics pointed out that making potentially life-saving vaccines available based on skin color may violate both the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which require equal treatment under the law. “This is not even close to legal,” podcast host Matt Walsh said.
Civil Rights Act of 1964:No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program…receiving Federal financial assistance.
— Matt R (@TReasonabilist) April 2, 2021
This is not even close to legal
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 2, 2021
Conservative commentator Jeremy Frankel agreed, saying, “Fourteenth Amendment for sure is violated here, not to mention just the downright immorality behind such a ridiculous mindset.”
14th amendment for sure is violated here. Not to mention just the downright immorality behind such a ridiculous mindset
— Jeremy Jim Eagle Frankel (@FrankelJeremy) April 2, 2021
Journalist Steve Sailer said such race-based governance shouldn’t come as a surprise from a government that has made its ideology known. He made his point by penning a mock letter from Vermont’s government to white people: “Why are you acting so surprised? We said our highest priority is Diversity-Inclusion-Equity (DIE). When we said DIE, we mean DIE.”
Dear White People:Why are you acting so surprised? We said our highest priority is Diversity-Inclusion-Equity (DIE). When we said DIE, we mean DIE.The Government of Vermont
— Steve Sailer (@Steve_Sailer) April 2, 2021
Vermont set up its special race-based vaccination clinics in response to a letter from “racial-justice” activists asking the government to prioritize non-whites. “What we’re asking the governor to do is to place, as a priority, the BIPOC community for vaccinations,” activist Mark Hughes of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance said in March. “Period. Lift all of the other restrictions. Let’s go ahead and get the work done that needs to happen.”
Governor Scott has now put that request into effect. According to 2019 estimates by the US Census Bureau, Vermont’s population of nearly 624,000 is 94.2% white. Only Maine had a higher percentage of white population, at 94.4%.
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