Male Supremacy or White Supremacy ? – Blog Post #3

I am still trying to decide between topics. I’m either going to focus on sexual assault and rape culture, or high rates of incarceration of people of color, both centered around Vermont data. For some, these topics may seem obscure or unnecessary in ‘liberal’ Vermont, however liberalism doesn’t automatically exempt Vermonters from American conditioning of female objectification or white supremacy and institutionalized racism.

In fact, in 2014, the University of Vermont was ranked #9 on the list of US colleges with the highest numbers of reported rape incidents. The University of Vermont had a higher total of rape reports than Stanford University, the home of Brock Turner (People v. Turner sexual assault suit). Also, according to RAINN, 2 out of 3 rape cases go unreported. Therefore, the University of Vermont probably suffers from a much higher rate of rape than actually documented.

Black Vermonters make up approximately 1.2% of the total population, and 10.7% of Vermont’s incarcerated population. That means that there are 10x more black people in Vermont that are incarcerated, than not incarcerated (proportionately). This marks Vermont as the second state with the highest rate of incarcerated black folks in all of America. According to the FBI’s arrest report (2011 – 2012), black people living in Burlington, VT were arrested at a rate of 243 arrests per 1,000 people. These statistics top Ferguson, Missouri, the home of the murder of Michael Brown – an unarmed, black 18-year-old kid.

Vermont has a problem. I just need to figure out which problem I want to address and how.

 

“The Criminal Justice System: Statistics.” The Criminal Justice System: Statistics | RAINN. RAINN, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2017.

 

Rice, Zak Cheney. “Here’s How Black People Actually Fare in Vermont With Bernie Sanders as Their Senator.” Mic. Mic Network Inc., 29 June 2017. Web. 05 Oct. 2017.

 

Anderson, Nick. “These Colleges Have the Most Reports of Rape.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 07 June 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2017.

Zymora Davinchi

5 Responses to “Male Supremacy or White Supremacy ? – Blog Post #3

  • I notice that your topic is not something that people might not want to acknowledge. I wonder why Vermont has such a high reported rape rate. I wonder which universities are #1 through #8 on the list of most reported rape incidents. I notice that you put a good bit of research into your topics.
    Miles Ellis Novotny

  • Zymora,

    Both are such important topics, and as you and the research show, Vermont’s not immune to either. I glanced ahead at your Mind Map to see if you went with one of these two topics or if you chose something else to explore. Since we’re in the exploratory phase, I like that you’re weighing several options and keeping an open mind.

    Some things to consider as you’re exploring possible topics:

    1. As we move deeper into WtS, we’ll ask you and your peers to get very specific we get about your audience–the people you are seeking to persuade. As you consider different topics, consider who the audience would be. The more specific we are about our audience (and the greater access we have to them), the more likely it is that we’ll be fired up and able to have our products / efforts make a difference. Conversely, the more vague / broad our audience, the more flat the project.

    2. We’ll also ask everyone to get very specific about your purpose, what the exact change is that you hope to make. Again, the more specific we can get about this, the more likely we can gain traction.

    3. Finally, listen to your heart. It may be that one of these topics sings to you, or it may be that a topic one of your WtS peers is excited about will sing to you. Be on the lookout for / stay open to this.

    Thanks,

    Bill Rich

  • Zymora, both powerful topics. Statistics can be illuminating and confusing. Illuminating: that UVM has such a high rate of reported rapes; what about the culture of the university leads to these? Confusing: If there is a way of determining what percentage of rapes are actually reported, than the problem could be far worse (or, perhaps, UVM has a much higher rate of rape reporting than elsewhere). So this is a story that is worth telling; the audience is the city, the state, the administration, the UVM population. You would need help: gathering data, a survey?, interviews, stories. For this to produce change, the data would have to be strong; the stories visceral.

    Black incarceration rates are high everywhere. In Akron, while with the Beacon Journal, back in 1993 we looked at both incarceration rates as well as guilty verdicts and pleas. Even more startling. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at The 13th, a documentary on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741 … Again, this would be an ambitious but illuminating project. Given that issues of racial profiling have been, to an extent, raised with Vermont State Police and Burlington City Police, there may be some statistics to help. ACLU and others might also be able to lead you to statistics. The trickiest part would be to get the prisoners’ stories.

    As a former journalist, I see the power in both, but also see how challenging they would be. The attainable way to get at these might be to first gather statistics and then find several people to tell the story. Let me know if I can help.

    g

  • Zymora,

    I think my response just was eaten by the Ethernet. Drat.

    I wanted to say that I found both ideas compelling — but challenging. I’ll try to recreate what I said in the earlier message:

    UVM: Statistics can be both illuminating and confusing. Illuminating: That UVM has such a high number of reported rapes. Why? Strictly on sheer numbers, what is it about UVM culture that causes this? What can be done? What are the stories that bring these tragedies to life? What can women do? Confusing: Is it true that UVM has the same rate of NON-reporting as other schools; if so, the problem is far worse. If not, is there something happening on UVM campus in which more rapes are being reported? Why? What kind of change could this lead to? Audience: UVM, administrators, city, state. This could be a powerful eye-opener that is much needed.

    INCARCERATION: In encourage you to take a look at The 13th, if you haven’t seen it already, a powerful documentary on incarceration of African Americans: https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741 … This is a complex and really disturbing problem. In 1993, at the Akron Beacon Journal where I worked, we looked at not only Black incarceration rates but also the numbers of arrests, convictions and guilty-pleas. In some ways the latter was the most disturbing. Given that attention has been focused on racial profiling in Vermont, particularly with the Vermont State Police and Burlington City Police, you may have available some interesting numbers and historical data as well as some willing allies in gathering the foundation for your work. The complex part will be to get the stories of some of the incarcerated men and women.

    Let me know if I can help.

    geoff

  • I wonder if any other colleges in Vermont have a high rate of reported rape. I notice that you have some strong evidence to support your thoughts. I think both topics are very important and it is important to bring both topics to light.

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