April – Ageism

Ageism is discrimination and prejudice based on age, including generational assumptions, and it manifests in various forms such as stereotypes, assumptions, and exclusion.  Ageism highlights the tendency of societies or individuals to disregard the valuable contributions and experiences of individuals based on their age and to focus instead on their perceived limitations and negative stereotypes. 

Ageism in the USA: The paradox of prejudice against the elderly | Ashton Applewhite | Big Think 

Ashton Applewhite is an author, activist, and speaker who has dedicated her career to raising awareness about ageism and promoting intergenerational cooperation.  Her groundbreaking book, “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism,” challenges the negative stereotypes and prejudices surrounding aging and encourages individuals and societies to embrace the opportunities and benefits of an aging population.  Through her work, Applewhite seeks to inspire people of all ages to embrace their full potential, promote social justice and equity, and build a more inclusive and age-friendly world. 

“We are facing an unparalleled set of challenges.  I’m thinking, in particular, about the health of the planet.  Older people and younger people are going to have to collaborate to solve these problems.  So, when you hear old versus young rhetoric, question it.” 

Ashton Applewhite 

Let us ask you this: 

  1. What are your typical initial/first thoughts when you meet someone who is younger or older than you?  Do these first thoughts align with what you believe to be true about all people of different ages? 
  2. What is your current experience with ageism?  Have you, or someone you know, ever had a lived experience with ageism?  If yes, what impact did it have on you? 
  3. Reflecting on the video, how does the message impact you?  Your environment/organization? 

Today, it is crucial to recognize that age should not be a factor in how we treat others.  We must acknowledge and celebrate the diverse experiences and contributions of people of all ages, and challenge ageist attitudes and practices in our society.  By opening our minds and hearts to the value of every individual, regardless of their age, we can promote greater social justice and inclusivity for all.   

This is a reminder that every moment is an opportunity to continue learning and reflecting and that there is always room for growth in ourselves and in our communities. 

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