“Divided by Diversity” Filmmaker Visits TA Civil Rights Literature Class
May 11, 2021
Former Mount Saint Joseph basketball coach Mark Benetato and filmmaker Duane Carleton joined students in Mr. Deffner’s Civil Rights Literature class on Monday. Carleton’s film “Divided by Diversity” (2016) explores what happened when five students from the Bronx, NY joined the Rutland school’s community after fleeing violence in some of New York’s toughest urban housing projects.
Carleton’s documentary chronicles the boys’ experiences during their time in Vermont. On the court, the students helped Mount Saint Joseph win a Division II state championship in 2012. Yet despite the team’s success, the players faced community push back that ranged from resentment to racism. The documentary’s release and screenings across the state led to a wide-ranging conversation about race and racism in Vermont.
TA students, who had watched “Divided by Diversity” in class, prepared questions in advance of the filmmaker and coach’s visit to campus. The discussion with Benetato and Carleton was heavily focused on race, racism, and the role it might have played in the community’s reaction to the team. Other topics included the role of athletics, playing time, parental involvement, team chemistry, entitlement, equity, and filmmaking.