Editorial: Prejudice

What is the definition of prejudice? According to Merriam Webster, it is:

” preconceived judgment or opinion

“an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge, an instance of such judgment or opinion or

“an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

Recently during conversations about possible school regionalization bills, certain elected officials, social media and columns on the matter painted anyone who raised objections to cost-based regionalization as just that.

Regionalization critics were characterized as anti-segregation, anti-minority, neglectful parents raising ignorant children because of their town demographics, and intentionally seeking to live and raise a family in towns that were mostly white.

Why? Because when several state bills that were vaguely worded sought to regionalize school districts, arguably the reason many choose to live in towns with a higher cost of living, often at a level of self-sacrifice, the stated intent was cost efficiencies. There was no reference in these bills to fixing the racial, economic and performance disparity that characterizes the state’s school systems.

Watch Board of Ed Chairman Tara Ochman discuss the bills and the “elephant in the room” at a the hearing.

No one is arguing that this exists. But no one said that was the reason for the bills either. So when critics objected to the bills based on what was actually written on them, it came as a surprise that said arguments were met with the above accusations.

Many of the accusations were made based on stereotypes of “typical wealthy Fairfield County people” — most of whom these accusers have never met. May it be true in some cases that some of these objections are based on bias or prejudice? Of course. Is true in all? No.

It’s almost like some of these accusations were based on a preconceived judgement or opinion of people in Fairfield County — or even an irrational attitude of hostility directed against a group or their supposed characteristics.

Almost.