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Pernicious Ageism
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In an op-ed article in the NY Times, author Alex Stone writes,

"...the supermarket express line, a rare, socially sanctioned violation of first come first served, based on the assumption that no reasonable person thinks a child buying a candy bar should wait behind an old man stocking up on provisions for the Mayan apocalypse."

While it's funny, it's also ageist. As a person who is not getting any younger, I'm very annoyed with the constant ageism I come across.

Take, for instance, Clint Eastwood's weird monolog just before the introduction to Mitt Romney's acceptance speech. Comment after comment alluded to his age and implied that he had some form of dementia. Could he not have been drunk? Possibly he is just hard-hearted and racist. Even just willing to say anything for a laugh?

But no, the comments all referred to his age, as if that explained everything. What would they have said if the same shtick had been performed by, say, Justin Bieber? Would the whole thing have been attributed to his age? Possibly, but I doubt it.

Recently I went to a conference where a speaker held up her iPhone and said there was an app which could display the conference schedule. The speaker went on to say that the thirty-somethings would know what she was talking about and the Boomers could find the printed conference schedule in the back.

If you listen, if you read jokes on the internet, you will come across ageism more than you realize. Just as we have done with sexual harassment, we should not accept it just because it is said in jest, to amuse. A meme repeated often enough becomes accepted as reality. Call them on it.

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