There is so much that is wonderful about the Pioneer Valley, the breathtaking landscapes, the bounty of farms, the arts, educational opportunities, and resources for so many people that we should absolutely acknowledge.
Hampshire County has a reputation of being a tolerant and inclusive community, however, there is a very real tangible imbalance between those that continue to use their power and privilege to intimidate, belittle, and, in some cases, bully, those who have less power or “professional status.”
Classism continues to be a very acceptable presence here, at Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges, as well as at UMass Amherst. It is present in our grocery stores, our restaurants, medical offices and municipalities. Why is it so acceptable to treat another human being as less important than oneself?
There is absolutely racism and sexism mixed in these layers, however, there seems to be total tolerance to those who behave in their entitled ways. It seems extra egregious with the “higher ed” community, for all of the anti-bias, anti-racism training that has been focused on, whether gestural or sincere, that so many “highly educated” people can turn around and intimidate administrative workers, receptionists, cashiers, waitstaff, and staff that are working just as hard as everyone else.
This is an explicit challenge to the Five Colleges and local media to address this head-on. Let’s put a spotlight on quantifying this imbalance and give voice to those who are habitually intimidated, belittled, and unfairly treated by classist entitlement. Lets ruffle some classist feathers.
Source : https://www.gazettenet.com/Letter-Nora-DeJasu-43180493270