Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's not #ageism, you're just old. It's not racism, you're just black. It's not a gender issue, you're just a chick.


Of Course You're Permanently Jobless. You're Old. You Suck.

"Nearly 44 percent of unemployed workers older than age 55 had been out of work for at least a year, compared with 12 percent of the unemployed workers under age 20. See Figure 3 and Table 1." (A Year or More: The High Cost of Long-Term Unemployment - 2012 Update).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

On Occasion of a Facebook Friend's 40th Birthday

Preface: For those who don't reach this post via the link in this friend's comments, I'm omitting the name unless my friend asks for attribution. The call for comments upon this person's 40th birthday inspired the following. It turned out to be so pertinent in an everyday situation that I couldn't help but repost here.

You just turned 40? Congratulations! You now know *exactly* what it feels like to be 50; only with a decade less ageism to contend with; which will definitely become your increasingly intimate life partner, from here.

I love all the upbeat comments here and agree with every single one of them. At the same time, it's moments like this that can also help us to see the real life impacts of yet unrealized democratic ideals on real people in our everyday lives. This may not have impacted you yet, but from 40, it's a very real aspect of all our work lives, today.

It doesn't matter that the EEOC says ageism is just as illegal as racism or genderism so long as HR continues is institutionalized "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward rampant age based discrimination.

The web is teaming with ways to "don't bring it up, just dress hipper, act younger, be something you're not," anything that absolves employers of responsibility to obey the law.

"One explanation for ageism’s perseverance may be that historically society has perceived age discrimination as more of an economics issue than a question of fundamental civil rights. Ageism has been viewed as different from and less serious than racism or sexism in the work place. This perception has relegated the ADEA to second class status amongst the country’s civil rights statutes" ( EEOC, ).

So see, it's not really discrimination like racism or sexism because everyone can agree that #OldPeopleSuck.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Old Age, From Youth’s Narrow Prism

Excerpt from the New York Times:

All of us lapse into such mistaken impressions of old age from time to time. It stems in part from an age-centered perspective, in which we view our own age as the most normal of times, the way all life should be. At 18 the 50-year-olds may seem ancient, but at 50 we are apt to say the same about the 80-year-olds.

“So what’s it really like to be old?” I often ask my patients, who are mostly in their late 80s and 90s, and the responses are unexpected.

“I forgot I was so old,” a 100-year-old patient recently told me, and then excused herself to make it to bingo on time.

This age-centrism is particularly pervasive in people’s attitudes toward nursing homes. All too often we imagine that life seems to end at the nursing home door — that it is loveless and lonely, with death hovering close by.

We make this mistake when we refuse to see the needs for intimacy even in the most debilitated elderly. Our youth-centered culture equates love with sex; in contrast, I have seen with my older patients that love can be an endlessly blossoming flower, felt and expressed in hundreds of ways. A friend’s mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease has fallen in love with another resident on her floor, and they walk around holding hands and snuggling with a newfound innocence that perhaps only their memory loss restored.

We also project our terror of death onto the aged, assuming that fear and depression must stalk the final years of life. And yet in my 15 years of working in nursing homes, I have never heard a patient say that he or she was afraid of death. Sometimes there is acceptance, other times anticipation, but most often it is not a great concern. Life goes on in its shadows.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to live to 100: Rita Levi-Montalcini's Routine

If you want to live to a 100, you might consider following Rita Levi-Montalcini's routine: get up at five in the morning, eat just once a day, at lunchtime, keep your brain active, and go to bed at 11pm.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Scott Adams on Ageism

Sometimes, you find the most interesting things in some random,  dusty ol’ RSS feed that died in Thunderbird, or Free Agent, or Net News Wire, or some other random reader thingie that you set up and abandoned years ago. In Feb 2008, Adams wrote:

In other professions, how often do people over the age of 70 produce innovative or exceptional results? Look around your home or office and ask yourself how many of the technical innovations came from senior citizens. How many of the best selling books on your shelf were written by senior citizens who weren’t already famous? How many senior citizens wrote the music you have on your iPod?

I don’t have the time right now to take this to town with all the goodness that it deserves. Suffice to say, defending prejudice with statistical probabilities has never worked out too well. How often is it a non-white that commits the assault and ends up in prison? Statistically, I’m fully justified to move to the other side of the street, simply due to skin color. Adams adds:

You will be tempted to point out exceptions to the rule. Warren Buffet is a good example. But he plans to retire. Alan Greenspan already did. Evidently they think age matters.

Evidently, they have BANK, dude. What’s that got to do with age? Sounds like you were just too tired from creating super awesome cartoons to think this one all the way through.

In response to my skin-color analogy, you may be tempted to bring up Obama, or Shaq, or Tiger, but those are exceptions. Can you say "slippery slope?" I knew you could.

The fact is, people are ageing in greater numbers and with more success than ever before in human history. We don’t get to hide behind statistical justifications when they serve our own purposes and cry “exceptionalism” as a defense.

Many, if not most of us voted for Obama because he was the best man for the job and best represented the values that we all believe are most crucial to the success of a healthy, vibrant,  democratic republic, and for evolving beyond the short-sighted, unsustainable resource skews attributable to this insane era of cannibal capitalism, toward a post-scarcity free market socialism.

Bringing you up to speed on the empirically imperative  adaptive advantages of a Free Market Socialist Democratic Republic aside, dear reader, one might recall that back in the day, you could count on the fact that we would just die off before we could argue our own case; which obviously worked well for your increasingly obsolete ageist attitudes. Your handy little self-serving prejudice could just march right on, unopposed, and with a self-congratulatory, "whatchu’ talkin' ‘bout now, down there six feet under, you old useless phukr!?" for flair.

Um, well, these days, WE'RE STILL HERE, PUNK, that’s what we’re talkin’ ‘bout; and we’re mobilizing our social media networks; and we have 400-800% more life experience than your ADHD WTF-URL-TXTing lil smartass. And we're blogging, and GPSing, and camera-phoning, and thumb-typing, and we can see through your immature, inexperienced, unstable, irrational, relentlessly hormone-driven deranged lack of judgment. Underneath it all, especially in your most disastrous hiring and strategy decisions, social psychology reveals the fact that all you're deep down really hoping for is a good after-hours cubicle phuck.

Flash! Hiring your best flirty phuck buddies prolly ain't all that good for the company; not to mention the excuse of dissin' and pissin’ on people simply because they might remind you of your own parents and force you to deal with all your own petty, dysfunctional authority-figure baggage.

So, yeah, pretty much your ageism bullshit is utter bullshit, right? Yet somehow it is still The Other Acceptable White Prejudice.

So how about this, Mr. Scott Adams? How about let's see Catbert’s HR Agency hire some old fogies who may need glasses to read but who can also see right through Dogbert's little games? Maybe we can even have some fun making the world safer and more inclusive for everyone, in the process.

TIA, Scott. That is, if you're not too old to understand WTF that means.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Level Playing Field Institute

Mitch Kapor shows again that he is one amazingly enlightened and compassionate human being, in First Life and Second Life. THANK YOU for these gifts, Mr. Kapor. LPFI is one of the few places where we are beginning to see AGE represented on equal footing with race and gender in robbing people of fundamental civil rights, sociological common decency, and mutual respect.

Read about what actions survey participants and LPFI recommends to employers in order to improve race, age, and gender relations in the workplace.

Giving Notice: Why the Best and Brightest are Leaving the Workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay (Jossey-Bass, 2007) offers a first-of-its-kind look at how hidden bias and hidden barriers are having a costly and profoundly negative impact on Corporate America.