Spectrum of Ageism

We often use age as a significant factor to decide a person’s level of intellect and credibility.  In our culture, a young adult is automatically thought to be naïve and senior citizens are often considered to be wise. An adult is an adult and all adults should be held accountable for their actions. But do we treat all adults the same?

Young adults can have amazing talents and vision; they can have excellent work ethic and be mature, decent adults. But they are often dismissed in educational institutions, work place and in family matters. They are thought to be inexperienced and thus have no credibility in choosing the right career path and sometimes, even their partners.  It’s also widely seen that some younger adults act entitled to certain luxuries they can never afford. They are deep into their mid 20s with absolutely no life skills. Because they are “young”, the family “spoils” them. But is this really spoiling or making an adult absolutely incompetent to survive on his own? None of these two extreme approaches are helpful.

 Then there is the other aspect of this ageism where we expect senior citizens to be respected only because they are old. A person who is a pathological liar or a narcissist or rude doesn’t automatically get rid of those traits. Behavioral patterns don’t go away with age nor do people automatically get wiser and a better human with age. 

Do we really value a 22-year-old’s opinion over a 62-year- old’s even when the 22-year-old is more mature and virtuous?  It’s rare.  It would be refreshing to see a more inclusive community where we treat all adults the same without any prejudice based on their age.

Day 26

One comment

  1. Dear Sonia,

    A very good write up about our (mostly south Asian) social flaws.

    Though I grew up in an environment where adults should be respected, I learned to question certain “adult” behaviors because of their dysfunctional nature.

    My experience says some adults can be very insensitive with their comments towards children and young adults. Knowingly or unknowingly, these harsh words can bring down the morale of a child or an young adult.

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