Title

Perceptions of Race in a Small Town: An Exploration of Ethnic-Relations in Brattleboro, Vermont

Publication Date

2001

Abstract

The objective of this study is to begin to elucidate aspects of race and class relations in an American community. My research question is: What are the perceptions of race in Brattleboro? The sub-questions are: (1) What aspects of living in Brattleboro would be difficult for people of color? (2) What makes those aspects particularly difficult for people of color? and (3) Are those aspects perceived differently according to the education level of the perceiver? The study is based on interviews structured to delve into the experiences of people of color in a majority white community as perceived by a selected number of multi-racial local residents. The sample size is relatively small, and the ideas presented were gathered to explore existing opinions, without the intention of generalizing the perceptions found.

This research has shown that there is clear recognition of racism by the respondents as common, persistent, or systematic within the Brattleboro community. Given the previous Human Rights Commission Report, finding racial harassment “pervasive” in the public schools of Vermont, and in peoples’ views gathered for this study, focus groups may be the next step to clarify definitions of racism. Also, a widespread survey, which elicits social economic status, background variables, and the deeper perceptions of racism and reactions to racist statements and events, would be more comprehensive.

Disciplines

Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Regional Sociology

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