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Old May 26, 2007, 05:49 PM
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Default The Discrimination You Cannot Avoid

That's right. There is a... form of discrimination... which transcends all ethnicities and fetishes and sexes. And we All suffer from it - and some are even those who Cause the Suffering.

I am talking about, what I call, AGE-ISM. The act of discriminating against someone based on their age, and making age an issue when it shouldn't be - and there is never a time when it should be.

And it's insidious. Creeping into our language without being picked up on. Little things like commentators calling Andre Agassi the Old Man of tennis - he was born in 1970 so he is 37, and somehow that is Old!? And commenting as if at That Age he shouldn't be playing, or doing anything (that he is beating all the yojnger Good Players doesn't come into it).

Older musicians cop the same treatment in interviews. The interviewer raising the issue of their Age. As if somehow they should just drop off the face of the planet at a certain age and let Younger musicians have a turn. If Tom Jones or Motorhead's Lenny Kilmister want to keep rockin', then all the more power to them. To hell with what some talentless TV interviewer thinks or implies.

Employees being Knocked Back because they are Too Old - in the HR Person's Eyes - to do the job. Yet that Employee could probably run rings around the so-called Young Guns. All based on a DOB Number entered on a form. Some mid forties Ball Of Muscle works like a machine, while the Twenty Something can hardly make it to morning break. But the employer will never know because they didn't base their choice on Ability, but filtered the applicants based on age, then on perceived ability.

It doesn't matter which shade of brown, cream or tan your skin color is, you are discriminated against based on nothing but your age - your real age and your perceived age (how old others Think you are). Men cop it. Females cop it. Even socialist, homosexual, tree hugging, lentil eating, sandle wearing, hairy-legged femi-nazis cop it. No-one is immune.

People even discriminate against themselves. They reach a certain Age and figure they Now need to X - whatever X is and it could be Retire, settle down, stop playing the field, buy a home for security, whatever. But WHO says?

Why can't someone keep on working even if they are 70? If they are ABLE, why throw them on the scrap heap based solely on their age?

Why should a woman have a child at 30 (or whatever age)? Just because Other People Think if she leaves it too long she'll be Ganny Age but have a child to raise? So a woman gives birth at 60. Good on her, I say! If she Wants to be a mom at 60, who is anyone else to pass negative judgement on her and impose their self-imposed age limits onto her?

"You're too old to..."

We've either all heard it - or the opposite "you're too young too..." - may have experienced it directly, or indirectly as with Gummit Laws, and know of others effected and may even have thought those terms. But be careful with your words.

Age should never be an issue. Ability, sure. But age, No! Unfortunately, others make it an issue for us - through ignorance or deliberately. And like those crabs in the pot pulling us back down, they want us to comform to their limited view of what people of certain age should and shouldn't do.

Watch out for age-ism.

Michael Ross
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