Tag Archives: ageism

Ageism 2009

By Jim Selman | Bio

There is nothing new about ageism, other than the fact that there are increasing numbers of people growing older (which means increasing numbers of examples of age discrimination against older people). The latest statistics from AARP show formal anti-discrimination complaints are up roughly 30% in the workplace. I had some fun with this in my recent blog, proposing we create the National Organization of Pissed-Off Elders (N.O.P.E.). However, it isn’t a laughing matter when we see a potentially tragic problem growing in our society that can be prevented.

I say tragic because ageism, whether institutionalized, culturally embedded or motivated by fear or greed, is a wedge being driven between parents and children and between grandparents and grandchildren. If we don’t address ageism, we will all continue this ‘circumstantial drift’ toward making age a political constituency that has older people competing with younger people over scarce resources (or whatever the coin of the realm might be on a given topic). At a time when

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Is Ageism the Problem?

I was talking to a friend recently who was suggesting I commit this blog to defeating ‘ageism’ in all of its often subtle and insidious forms. I said, I don’t want to make this about being ‘against’ ageism for three reasons. First, if there is one thing I have learned in life it is that we get what we resist. Even Martin Luther King wasn’t so much against discrimination as he was ‘for’ equality. Secondly, I want to be ‘for’ the possibility of aging and that is as much about

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I notice I am getting more ‘age’ jokes in my email these days. Most of them are kind of silly: they’re either about leaky parts or real or imagined sexual fantasies among octogenarians (watching or wishing in all sorts of unusual circumstances, like learning to bounce your walker on a trampoline so you can peak at the nude beauty in the next yard). Like most humor, it is about people laughing at themselves or their situation. I don’t find most of them particularly funny, probably because

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Objectifying the Old

I just came across news of a humdinger of a research report from Georgia Tech
about how older people process information differently than younger
people depending upon whether they are in a ‘positive’ or a ‘negative’
mood. I have seen some pretty nonsensical conclusions reached by social
scientists and statisticians, but this is about a flaky as they come.

Granted I haven’t read the research itself, only a description of it which concludes:

"So it shows that the young and old are motivated by different goals and, therefore, perceive and process information differently because of the changes in goals across the lifespan,” said Blanchard-Fields.

Now my experience as one of the ‘old’ is

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Not Old Enough

I was speaking with a woman today, probably in her late 20s, who works for the Public Service in Canada. She is a graduate of one of top colleges and presumably someone the government doesn’t want to lose. She has a both a big vision for change and a seriously self-limiting conversation about what she is and is not able to accomplish in a big bureaucracy at her age. In the absence of a change in her internal conversation about her future, she will probably leave the Public Service early and

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Age Discrimination I

Age discrimination is probably one of the last forms of negative
stereotyping left—perhaps even the subtlest. It wasn’t so long ago that
color, sexual orientation and gender were in the spotlight. Now, as 70
million of us are becoming the dominant demographic force in the world,
we can begin to see our culture’s bias toward age appearing as overt
forms of discrimination.

corporations that are sensitive to ‘diversity’ are often biased against
older workers in their hiring,

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Late-Life Libido

Ronni at TGB recently took a whack at being inundated by wrap-around sexually explicit media
and how it can negatively stereotype older folks whose libidos are in a
state of “natural” decline. I wonder if a declining libido is natural.
If we know of examples of late-life lust, then it can’t be natural. It
is a choice.

if people simply lose interest or want to let it go, then I respect
their choice. However, if they are buying into a story that they
‘can’t’ or

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Seniors Discounts

Why do organizations, companies and government offer seniors
discounts? Next spring, according to the airlines and almost every
other organization that gives perks to folks 65 and older, I will
officially be considered a ‘senior’. I will have to wait at least an
additional 10 months to qualify for the Everest of aging — Social
Security. Why they make this distinction at age 65 is a bit of a
mystery to me.

suppose it is based on the assumption that many of us with gray hair

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Choosing Age

I’ve asked a lot of people how old they would be if they really had a choice. In a recent essay entitled Complaint and the Blind Men,
Laurence Platt, who writes from his experience of Werner Erhard’s work,
wrote about the idea of choice as a creative act as opposed to a
conclusion based on some analytical reasoning. The message is that
happiness is the result of choosing ‘what is’, what some disciplines
call ‘profound acceptance’ or ‘surrender’.

aren’t many areas of

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