(A short article) Ageism is a prejudice against older people founded on the belief they are incapable of serious employment or labor, and that they are feeble and incompetent. It is a superficial prejudice based on white hair and wrinkles. A woman with white hair and a few wrinkles bicycles to a nearby college where she is taking classes, and upon entering is asked by a concerned young person if she is lost. A white-haired man with 40 years of work experience applies for work in the heating and cooling industry after getting straight “A”s for his one year HVAC certification, and gets no responses, while his younger classmates find work with relative ease. Are you guilty of ageism? Are you one of those accusing Senator Bernie Sanders of being “too old” for the job?
People are living longer and maintaining better health in our modern society. Labeling people as feeble and incompetent because of their age is a prejudice just as destructive to individuals as prejudices based on race and sex. Those people stating Bernie Sanders is too old to be President of the United States are a expressing ageism, a blatant prejudice against older Americans.
Dr. Robert Epstein, who is Editor-in-chief for Psychology Today, is also a research psychologist, and has written about the aging brain for Discover Magazine and Huffington Post. He has severe doubts about the intelligence of ageism. Epstein stated,
“As long as the candidate shows no signs of senility, say, from early Alzheimer’s, an older candidate is probably your best choice if you think the world is a fairly stable place. As we get older, our judgment regarding matters we know about, generally gets better. Experience is a great teacher.”
If you know someone who claims Bernie Sanders is too old for the job, you might want to call them on their prejudice. It’s a prejudice that damages both individuals, and our society. To young people, “Do you really want to deal with this kind of prejudice after you reach 40?” Change the world now! “Old” no longer means weak and senile (if it ever really did).