Tag Archives: discrimination

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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Elder Employees

I am perplexed by the fact that companies have been laying off older workers for years as part of various downsizing projects. I understand the drive to cut costs. Under normal demographic conditions, laying off older workers would even make some sense from a strictly financial point of view, since they generally command higher salaries than younger workers. The fact is, however, that those same companies are moaning about shortages of qualified people and the difficulties they’re having in

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Facts of Life

I saw a show on the BBC recently about aging in the UK. There were several very interesting aspects to the story. First, the population in nursing homes has changed dramatically in the past 20 years: previously, most residents were in their 70s and today most are in their 90s. And most are women—not surprising given World War II and life expectancy trends.

The consensus of experts here is that a combination of healthier habits and lifestyles, better medical technologies, and increasing access

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Politically Correct

There is value in distinguishing ‘politically correct’ ways to speak about people who might otherwise be ignored in our collective ‘blind spot’. Such speaking can highlight inequity and discrimination and raise our awareness of those areas where our actions and our values don’t line up—where we aren’t walking our talk!

I also think there are areas where nitpicking labels can be overdone and even undermine the point that needs to be made. It’s one thing to eliminate sloppy and pejorative

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Generation Next

I just finished watching a CNN International presentation in my hotel room in Sao Paulo. It was an extraordinary production called “India’s Generation Next”. What made it special from my perspective is that it was a genuine conversation of many young people, accented with dialogue with 5 prominent Indians, including two celebrities from the entertainment industry, a politician and two prominent business people.

The program, very well produced and hosted by two of CNNs social commentary people,

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Age Discrimination II

I am against trying to ‘legislate’ or ‘regulate’ good behavior. I
don’t think people respond very well to rules that are ‘good for
them’—whether it is anti-smoking legislation, ‘dietary’ packaging, or
sanctions on putting condom machines in high schools. People will, at
best, comply, but the underlying problems and cognitive blindness
persists for decades (if not forever). The result is institutionalized
secrecy, hypocrisy, black markets

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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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Old Folks’ Day

Happy IDOP everyone! Oh, you didn’t know that the United Nations
implemented October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons 16
years ago? Well, it’s true. Lots of information available online about
the UN Program on Ageing. The opening remark by the Secretary General pretty well sums up what it is all about.

"I am only one of 600 million persons in the world over the age of
60. As people across the globe come to live increasingly

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