Is Ageism the new Racism?

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Is Ageism the new Racism?

I was quite struck today by the way derogatory language is used on the internet. I am 68 years old and am not quite senile yet. My intellectual faculties are pretty intact though obviously my short-term memory is not quite as sharp as it used to be but I get there. But three times in the last two days I have found myself on my blog being described as an old man as if being 68 has suddenly made me worthless. It is put in such a derogatory way that indicates that the younger people concerned consider my views worthless, that I am suddenly out of touch, that my life experience is irrelevant and my intelligence has diminished.


That is obviously lazy pigeon-holing and arrogance on their part. It says more about them than anything else.


It is possible that I will live for another thirty years. By the time I get into my eighties and nineties I may start to think of myself as old - but I doubt it.


Now that racism, homophobia and sexism is heavily frowned upon are these people turning their attention to older people? Is ageism the new racism? Do we put aside all need to listen to what older people have to say, to disregard their experience and views, and simply put them down as irrelevant and worthless?


How arrogant can you get?


opher goodwin Added Mar 13, 2018 - 8:20pm
I do see that racism appears to be making a resurgence too. Maybe this sea of division, hatred and nastiness is just all pervasive.
Hopefully it's a blip.
All you need is love - yeah, yeah, yeah.
Katharine Otto Added Mar 13, 2018 - 9:30pm
Whoever is insulting you is still reading your blog, so all is not lost.  You don't explain the context, but what our generation thought of as "old-fashioned" was not necessarily meant insultingly.  We might have thought of corsets and kerosene lamps and the like as "quaint."  
I guess you also have to consider the source.  There is wisdom in experience, wisdom neither of us had or even knew we lacked when we were younger.  I remember a friend who was most tolerant of immaturity, using the term "He (or she) is young."  It was not a compliment.
Tamara Wilhite Added Mar 13, 2018 - 11:51pm
Liberalism is correlated with the personality trait openness, the love of novelty and the new. They've raised novelty to a virtue, hence "all other cultures and people are better than ours".
The same worldview means the children and young adults are by definition better than the elders, something young adults certainly want to believe.
Anti-Limey Added Mar 14, 2018 - 2:34am
News flash Opher: Question - What's the significance of January 1, 1970? Answer - The 60's were OVER! You ARE an old man, and youngsters always have, and always will, make fun of people whose faces look like a high-resolution photo of a dry creek bed. A lot of it is pretty fucking funny though, like "You're so old, you dream in re-runs", or "You're so old, when you were a kid, rainbows were in black-and-white".
Mark Hunter Added Mar 14, 2018 - 3:53am
My dad is 80 and my grandmother on my mom's side 94, and they're both sharper than a lot of the young people out there.
But you're right. When I send my writing out to agents and editors, I don't mention my age--there's a pretty heavy preference for young writers, too.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:03am
On 5 march I was getting 60, although I feel like 30. My body is in perfect shape, if not for my bad eyesight. But I can agree on that - old age starts at 50 today, when you look at the job market and the chances one has to get one at that age here.
That's why I advise all those "old" people to start their own little company...;-)
Keeps the brain cells fit !
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:08am
Katharine - you are right. Age gives perspective. I think it is merely that technology is progressing so fast it is altering the world dramatically. It is hard to keep up.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:09am
Tamara - that's an interesting observation. It is certainly true that the modern world is aimed at the young.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:11am
Michael - well according to Hawkins the 60s aren't over and never will be.
Love your two quotes!
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:12am
Mark - yes ageism is alive and well! Pain in the arse isn't it?
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:13am
Stone - Yes - keeping the brain active is the key to youth!
Pardero Added Mar 14, 2018 - 5:30am
When I was looking for work, I saw the ageism first hand. Sometimes I think they are considering health insurance rates. In other cases, I felt that they thought I was over-qualified. I can be pretty glib. I accidentally intimidated one interviewer who could barely speak his native tongue.
I am in an industry with more old than young, now.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 6:22am
Padero - I think human beings like to pigeon-hole people and stereotype. It makes their life easier. They don't have to think. Once they have placed someone in a convenient box they don't have to consider them again.
Once you are over fifty you are considered unemployable, fixed in your ways and not worthy of consideration.
George N Romey Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:03am
Ageism is certainly very alive and well in the job market.  Given that the number of decent jobs is limited its older workers and younger workers that lack experience and training that get shut out.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:17am
George - it is ludicrous to waste all that talent isn't it. Older workers are much more reliable.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:44am
 that I am suddenly out of touch, that my life experience is irrelevant and my intelligence has diminished
Suddenly? Nothing sudden about it. 
You're batshit fuckin' crazy and have been for decades by your own opinions and statements expressed across WB.
Grow the fuck up. Being old and discarded is part and parcel of life. 
As you have demonstrated repeatedly you are irrelevant and very out of touch with reality. 
I know, I know, how DARE anyone point that out to the great and wonderful HRH HEAD TEACHER!!!
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:48am
Hey Jeffry you old fraud. Good of you to contribute and prove the point. Enjoy paddling boats in the boating pool.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:52am
I'm an old man too. Been retired since 1996. My Captain's license and $5.00 will get me a cup of Starbucks anywhere in the Kingdom. As it should be. Young people don't give a fuck what my opinion is on any fucking thing. Especially young Thais. As it should be.
I don't go around whinging about it. 
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:57am
Not old yet Jeffry - still much time to go. They'll be a time to get old (all being well). 
All that pool of wisdom going to waste? Surely not.
Commenting is not necessarily whinging is it?
Leroy Added Mar 14, 2018 - 8:08am
At 13, I knew everything and was smarter than everyone else.  The older I get, the dumber I get.  There are a lot of things I don't know today.  Maybe they are on to something.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 14, 2018 - 8:09am
All that pool of wisdom going to waste? 
In your case?
Surely not. 
As always you have a much higher opinion of yourself than is warranted or recognized outside your own head. 
I'm not the Asshole Whisperer so  herself and I will now go for our evening 2 km stroll down the beach and back. 
Dino Manalis Added Mar 14, 2018 - 8:49am
There must be respect for senior citizens!  We can learn from their experience!
Doug Plumb Added Mar 14, 2018 - 9:13am
re "You're batshit fuckin' crazy and have been for decades by your own opinions and statements expressed across WB."
Jeffrey is right Opher. Evil people do not know they are evil, they think they are good. The really smart people have looked at the average person - the kind of people that think we need low flow toilets because we are running out of water - and they have given up, become nihilists. When someone is literally that dumb it seems that there is no possible hope.
You have thought of yourself as a wise man, but will never look at anything that challenges your own viewpoints.
I read your posts as a study in psychology because I haven't given up on reason.
Ageism is new, its a hundred years old. Prior to this aged people were respected and younger people recognized that they had a lifetime of experience and learning from which they could gain from and get ahead of the pack.
Now the communist decides to divide and conquer to conquer reason itself so he can be on the hilltop and all the donkeys and goats working for him - so he no longer has to concern himself with them tracking shit through his abode. So he finds natural differences, magnifies them and creates conflict so all the donkeys fight each other and save him the trouble of cleaning up shit all the time.
And when people are so dumb as to think they need low flow toilets then there is no hope.
Riley Brown Added Mar 14, 2018 - 9:25am
Opher I think there are many forces at work and one of them was self inflicted by our attempts to prevent age discrimination.
First lets get real, when we get old we start having less in common with younger generations.  Our values, music and even sense of humor are not the same as younger workers, and if part of who they want to hire is someone they think they can get along with and they are younger, it won't be someone as old as you.  I'm not saying that's wise, but it's a fact.
Second as we age the number of years a company can expect us to continue working for them declines.  At 68 it's unlikely you're going to going to stay for long.   Many companies want younger workers, especially in critical roles that they hope will stay with them longer than that if they are any good.  It's probably going to take 6 months for you to become fully productive and then you might retire next year.
Third, at 68 most of us will need much more medical attention than a much younger person will, and that's not convenient or cost effective for the company.
Fourth, as a person in a protected class, you have the ability to claim age discrimination and that scares many employers.  One law suit can be devastating to a company even if they prevail.  The easy way out is just don't hire protected classes of employees like you because if you don't hire them, they can't sue you later on.
That being said, I think they are being stupid.  Many older employees who have great track records know their jobs inside out and bring a lifetime of experience from similar companies that might be applicable to problems in their new company.  Most are well settled where they live now, and aren't going to jump ship to go somewhere else because it's not as easy to relocate once you get older.   It's definitely a trade off, with good and bad.
Neil Lock Added Mar 14, 2018 - 9:29am
Opher: Speaking as something of a generalist, I think that several important mental abilities, such as to think in depth about things, to see through lies and smokescreens, and to see perspectives others don't, actually increase with age - certainly into your 60s.
wsucram15 Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:02am
Ageism is a thing.  It was when I was still working and why I had to take a different path.  You have to be hired by 30 somethings who are terrified of your knowledge.  Or there is literally a criteria (no matter how illegal) on type of person to be hired.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:12am
Leroy - LOL - that's a great observation.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:13am
Dino - I think that the point is that we can learn from anyone - even Jeffry.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:14am
Doug - your reason is that the Jews did it. 
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:17am
Hey Riley - I agree with your points. I'm not looking for a job. I'm happy in my retirement writing, reading, travelling and enjoying the family. I'm not braindead though.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:20am
Neil - I am sure that the brain ages in line with other organs. It deteriorates. But it does have a lot of surplus capacity and IQ takes a long time to erode. The failings are compensated by a wealth of experience.
Respect is something that all people - young and old, white, black and brown, stupid or intelligent, male or female, gay, straight or in-between - deserve.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:21am
Jeanne - ageism is alive and well in the workplace.
Ian Thorpe Added Mar 14, 2018 - 10:44am
Opher, some years ago I wrote a piece titles "Is Age The New Apartheid," which thanks to my ability to create a 'long tail' still gets a steady trickle of views, so obviously our concerns are shared by some people.
On the subject of resurgent racism, having read of a case in a British university of black students being racially harrassed, in an insulting but not threatening way, I get the feeling it's part of a backlash against the "all white people are racist"; "the world would be better without white people"; "I want to see white males eradicated from the human race" (and that one came from a senior politician - Diane Abbott; and "all white people are this"; "all white men are that".
Can you imagine the outcry from the left if someone to the right of centre said, "all blacks are lazy"; or "all women are manipulative".
Working class whites were bound to react at some point.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:01am
Ian - I make no excuses for racism of whatever hue. It all stinks.
My case is purely that all people deserve respect. They should be judged on the quality of their lives and actions and not on their race, gender, age or sexuality. 
wsucram15 Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:26am
Opher..being from the UK, do you have age related laws there? We have some laws here in the US but it is very difficult to prove to the EEOC.  (Equal Employment Opportunity Office), which I bet at this point has no staffing now anyway.
People (as you can see) dont get respect as equals based on anything here.  That is really up to the person who they respect and how they treat people.  I have always found the treatment of the elderly in the US to be very poor as opposed to that of other nations.
Its ok to treat people badly, why not?   It a Jane english type philosophy...leave em for dead. Until of course it became her own life experience. lol.
There are states that have right to die laws, and I believe in that, better that than to suffer with family that wont do anything but shove them in a dirty nursing home with strangers that REALLY dont care.
Opher..people are selfish. They just are.
John King Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:31am
Don't worry, this bunch will join us soon enough and wonder where the hell all the years went. BTW, I'm working on a stacker program to free up some brain capacity & end the s/t memory problems. Other than that, like you, I feel like I'm a really experienced teenager.
wsucram15 Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:39am
But Opher and my kids will point out, none of them had the lives we did.  I can promise that. LOL.   So its worth the trade off.
John King Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:45am
That we have and are still having!
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:47am
Jeanne - yes we do have equality laws. As an employer I was subjected to those laws. I had, in interview situations, to ensure that selection was objective. In practice this is impossible to legislate. My old man was racist and used to use different tests in his office. If he didn't want someone he gave them an impossible test. Their failure justified his decision.
In terms of employment it is reprehensible that a lot of talent is overlooked because of prejudice and bigotry.
My observations are that there are a lot of mean-minded, hate-filled people who like to abuse other people. They use racism, misogyny and homophobia and that ageism is another weapon in their armoury of put-downs.
They show themselves up as the unpleasant creatures they are but the sadness is that these rather nasty individuals do intimidate some people and do get themselves into positions of power where they can apply their nastiness. Basically they are unpleasant bullies.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:48am
John - Thanks for that. Forever experienced teenagers!! I like it.
George N Romey Added Mar 14, 2018 - 12:18pm
Yep Jeanne people are selfish and in some cases getting more so.  Fortunately there are people that toil in the social services sector that actually do some good even within the rotten, dysfunctional, self serving (for those at the top of agencies that get a nice lifestyle with it), bloated and sometimes underfunded system they must operate within. 
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 1:33pm
Jeanne/John - I wouldn't swap it for anything. Never have there been such opportunities and so much to enjoy.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 1:35pm
George - yes we are ruled by the selfish and greedy. Fortunately there are many people who do care and we need more social care.
James Travil Added Mar 14, 2018 - 6:29pm
Opher I just turned 50 a few months ago, but I'm told that I still look to be in my early 30's but the age thing does concern me. Fortunately I'm in a job where productively matters over surfacal nonsense like age. And I'm blessed to have the respect of my children and friends. Plus I have not one, but two wonderful women in my life (both in their 20's) who love and adore me. So all and all life is good and I generally feel a lot younger than I actually am.
opher goodwin Added Mar 14, 2018 - 7:41pm
James - I don't think one ever feels old inside - just a little weary at times. It gets a bit frustrating when your mind can't come up with the right word like it used to but at 68 I still feel I'm on the ball. It's a shame the body is not up to doing what it used to do though. I was playing five-a-side football up until I was in my fifties. Up to six years ago I was doing two hours in the gym every day but I can't do that now.
Prof Claudewell Thomas Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:14pm
Ageism is not the new racism although the monolithic thinking involved may be similar.There is no chance of a " white" person growing black or brown or other.But there is 100% certainty that young persons,unless they die,will turn old.Older people and I am one of them,do have the benefit of a wisdom resulting from experiential learning and problem solving.But in a workplace dominated by algorithmic type responses and responsibility only for one level of problem resolution that wisdom may have no place.As my mother ( the wisest person I have encountered) would say " Youth must be served". If that hastens homo sap to extinction ( and it doesn't have to be so be it.
Prof Claudewell Thomas Added Mar 14, 2018 - 11:38pm
Of course my last comment does not include those elderly who have mentally deteriorated in the aging process.This deterioration while a natural part of aging is greatly accelerated by physical and mental isolation.Assisted living facilities are disturbingly akin to hospices.
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 4:57am
Prof - thanks for commenting. I like your point about age/experience creating wisdom but that wisdom is not always of benefit in the workplace.
What disturbs me is the way some people are using one's age as a means of abuse in the same way that they use race, gender or sexuality in a derogatory manner. To abuse people for any spurious reason is simply obnoxious and wrong.
George N Romey Added Mar 15, 2018 - 7:44am
I agree that wisdom is no longer valued in the job market. Simply the ability to do transactions on a computer. No one really is challenged to think anymore.
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 10:34am
George - cogs in the machine.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 15, 2018 - 11:49am
It is but one more from an endless font of isms :)
wsucram15 Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:07pm
Prof..I hate to burst your bubble..but its a thing now. Wisdom is NOT always to your benefit. In fact, my entry level resumes with less responsibilities get huge responses, to this day, until they talk to me.  When you have a 30 something person interviewing you and you know what you are talking about and dont need guidance, well..  its not appreciated.
Maybe that doesnt happen with guys.
But should see how these kids are taught, its terrible and they pay a lot for it. You have to get to grad school before you learn anything. Some teachers still teach, but its computerized and they mostly grade and in some classes, not even that, its all on an online lab,ebook or test. Blackboard, SAkai, Pearson, My EDU, etc..tests are posted, work..etc.
George N Romey Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:11pm
Jeanne I can assure you it happens with men. Wisdom and intelligence are no longer a desirable attribute. They are a negative. As you say your nature is not to play stupid.
Prof Claudewell Thomas Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:40pm
No need to apologize wsucram15,you didn't burst any bubbles.I tried to make clear that there may be no place for wisdom in a workplace dominated by algorithmic thinking.But bad as that is how much worse is it to have that kind of thinking dominating diplomacy and international relationships. It is small wonder that the term ratiocination is dropping out.of the American vocabulary!
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:53pm
Burger - all isms are archaic products of primitive tribal thinking that we are trying to free ourselves from. Abuse and pigeon-holing are base simplistic ways of putting people down and side-lining them. We need to socially evolve.
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:55pm
Jeanne - that tendency to teach for tests (which is not teaching) is what is happening here too. We are being made into unthinking units.
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:56pm
Jeanne/George - thinking is discouraged. They do not want wisdom, intelligence or thinking - it clogs up the machine.
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 12:56pm
Prof - it's already dropped out!
Stone-Eater Added Mar 15, 2018 - 3:32pm
I've got some rules to not Mr. Alzheimer too early:
1. Take part of social life, especially with the young. Why ? Because you were young once. If you can't remember that, you're already having Mr. Alzheimer at home, so don't read further.
2. Eat healthy (if possible, I know, a difficult task nowadays. Monsanto plates aren't officially on the menu yet).
3. Play an instrument. It's proven that it enlarges certain areas of your brain, and when you're lucky, you didn't use those areas before anyway.
4. Think positive. Other people don't get as far as you've gotten up to now.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 15, 2018 - 3:33pm not MEET Mr. Alzheimer, sorry (Alz, can you get off my back please ?) ;-)
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 3:53pm
Good advice Stone. I wish I could play an instrument. I can't even type.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 15, 2018 - 4:56pm
Never too late to learn something new. We're not young, and we have time :-)
opher goodwin Added Mar 15, 2018 - 6:26pm
Stone - sometimes when you've tried and failed you have to accept your limitations.
Dr. Byron A. Ellis Added Mar 17, 2018 - 8:41pm
Opher ageism is not the new racism, it has always existed. Perhaps, the new governing environment has brought it to the surface. Ageism, racism and other ism that discriminate against human beings will always exist if humans are able to make choices. Choices or preferences lead narrowminded humans to exhibit perverse biases against other humans; they often believe that they are superior and see other humans as unworthy. However, we ought not to make their narrowmindedness our problems.
Cliff M. Added Mar 17, 2018 - 8:54pm
Opher, Ageism is alive and well. Knowledge ,wisdom and experience have become real threats to a job market that is concerned with keeping costs down.Competition from all walks of life for the crappy jobs prevalent now puts demand for an ignorant workforce at the forefront. Now most elder statesman in the labor market must create their own jobs to stay employed .The capitalism since the early eighties is not interested with sharing with an experienced workforce. Only sending wealth up the food chain.
 The positive thing now is with people living longer , healthier lives there is more time to smell the roses.
opher goodwin Added Mar 18, 2018 - 12:12pm
Dr - so you don't think it is any worse than before? OK. I agree - we shouldn't let the narrow-minded set any agenda.
opher goodwin Added Mar 18, 2018 - 12:13pm
Cliff - yes experience doesn't count for what it once did. Thanks for commenting. There's a lot of roses that need smelling!
Dr. Byron A. Ellis Added Mar 18, 2018 - 1:18pm
I do not think that it is about experience not counting. I think it about the capacity of hiring managers. We can see it with the Trump administration and the cabinet folks that they hired. This lack of capacity is also prevalent in many government agencies, as well of institutions of higher learning, such of the collapse of FIU bridge this week; the bankruptcy of Toys R Us, where they failed to use technology to broaden the sale of their product.
George N Romey Added Mar 18, 2018 - 1:23pm
What killed Toys R Us was the $6 billion in debt brought on by people like Mitt Romney. With all that debt to service there is no cash flow for upgrading the Company technology. A company with 60 years in existence gone all because a bunch of old white dudes were greedy beyond imagination.
John King Added Mar 18, 2018 - 5:00pm
George: Exactly right. IHeart Radio died of the same disease last week. LBOs are great for the buyers but not so much for the stock & Bond holders or employees. But the "old white dudes" weren't so old and the process is made too easy by the stupid young bankers who make the initial loans.
George N Romey Added Mar 18, 2018 - 5:15pm
We saw what the LBO market did in the 80s only to be bought back in the 00s and restarted again a few years ago. Same MO-load the company up on debt, take millions in fees, company drowns in debt but the financial parasites have already made their millions.