Letter, Opinion

Beware of non-toxic mold, false equivalencies, denials of racism

Dear Editor,

This is the first time I have written a letter to a paper. There were three items in the June 3-9 edition of the Mountain Times that compelled me to write.

1) This goes first as it is the one I know the most about not because it is the most important. To the parents of students from Pomfret school:

Do not accept the comment “non-toxic “ mold. Your children’s health is at risk. The best test for mold is an “ERMI” test.

Make sure this test has been done in multiple places in the school. Ask to see the results. The companies that do this test will give you a scientific review of the findings. Make sure it is done in the areas of the school with visible mold. This test will tell you if there is toxic mold vs. “non-toxic” mold. This is the test FEMA uses after flooding events. It is the gold standard.

Do not accept air tests as a complete picture of the situation.

2) Second this is to Cindy Berman from Massachusetts who made a false comparison of her experience coming to VT as a second home owner to being a black person entering Vermont and being harassed. Locals are annoyed at the large numbers of out of state visitors coming here from high infection locations and not following our Governor’s orders. Vermont is in great shape as far as the coronavirus is concerned. All you have to do is be respectful and law abiding and we have no problem with you. We want to open up and go about our business. We do not want more infections. I cannot possibly know the experience of being a black person visiting or living in Vermont but I guarantee you it is nothing like the experience of a white woman with a second home here. There is both attitudinal racism and situational racism in Vermont (as described by the comment from Sen. Dick McCormack same issue KT). I would call it institutionalized racism. For a black person it is the color of their skin that people are attacking – it is not a response to disrespectful, callous and selfish behavior. Do you get it now?

3) Third this is in response to the comments by state Sen. Dick McCormack. I hope your comments about not saying anything when you hear racist comments so as to be “nice” or having good pals who just happen to be attitudinally racist doesn’t apply to you. I know this is how many people behave but it is not right or appropriate. There is a moral imperative to speak up. It is possible, morally important and ethically correct to speak out if you hear a racist comment. It is a big deal to let that kind of speech go unchallenged. I also hope you do not have a bunch of racist friends. If someone in 2020 believes that you can judge the value of a person by the color of their skin they need to be educated and their words condemned immediately.

Thank you for your attention,
Kathy Brower, MD, Killington

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