My Feelings on Ageism ~ entry #9

Ageism (also spelled “agism”) is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systematic. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism.

“We have come a long way in terms of equality, freedom of expression and socio-economic human rights. Discriminating against someone on the basis of his/her color, race, religion or sexual orientation is now unthinkable and unacceptable. There is, however, one form of discrimination which is still practiced and openly so: Ageism.  It seems as though it has now become acceptable to discriminate against someone because of their age and both men and women are affected by this.” More on this article….

I feel there is no place for it whatsoever.  I felt this way in my 20’s and still feel this way in my 40’s.  I’ve always related to older folks.  I’m engrossed by their wisdom, their experiences, and knowledge.  They seem to have a peaceful inner-soul with an abundance of patience.  So much can be taken and learned from them.  Some of the best friends I’ve encountered over the years have been elderly men and women. I see their hard core work ethic, I see that they are financially responsible and believe they inherited this from their parents/elders.  I see great advice being given with age.  I see beauty and light.  I see what I strive to become.

I’ve also seen people being forced into early retirement.  Why?  Because they’ve been with a company longer and earn a higher wage – so it’s easier to root them out and hire a younger person for less money.  Many of these steadfast elders have worked for the same company and dedicated their lives work to them just to be turned out to save money and it  breaks my heart.  They are less likely to call in sick even when they are not feeling well and work hard for their money.  It’s.  Called.  Work.  Ethic.  Something that I believe is lacking in today’s society.

I miss the friends I’ve made here at work that have retired.  I miss them badly.  I miss their effervescence, their smiles, their jokes, their wit, their charm, their hard work, the camaraderie, and that irreplaceable connection I had with them.  I think about them often and wish them well.  I make it a point to keep in touch with them to let them know they are missed.

My hope is that people learn or can see the value in older family members, friends, and especially in co-workers without prejudice.  They are invaluable, they are cornerstones, they are pillars of strength that have a lot to offer if you give them the chance.  My hope is that people open themselves up to love and cherish these sweet, wonderful, noble people that we call our elders.




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