That’s the question that came in to Yo, Is This Ageist? a few days ago, and I’ve been banging my head against it ever since. Not that the question hadn’t come to mind long before, in particular the notion of of discriminating against a group you aspire to join, but the answer is far more complicated.
My inspiration for Yo Is This Ageist was the excellent Yo Is This Racist blog, where the post below made me laugh out loud. Swap out "ageist" for "racist" and "old people" for "black people" and it works just fine. I bet I'll get to use it soon.
So I made a Jesus joke in the presence of some racists, and one was like "hey, why is it ok to make fun of religion, but you always give me shit when I say something racist" So I said "because black people are real."
A few months ago, my daughter's girlfriend told me about a terrific blog called Yo, is this racist? Ask any question about race and get a straight answer, as long as you're prepared to be mocked or skewered. It serves an important purpose, plus it's hilarious. So I've started a companion blog: Yo, is this ageist?
This afternoon I heard an interview with Walter Mosley on NPR. Among other things, he talked about how his latest novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, was informed by caring for his mother as she progressed through dementia. The novel tells the story of a 91-year-old black man who’s beginning to deal with dementia himself, and of a young girl who comes into his life and tries to help.
I encountered that chilling phrase, “age apartheid,” in a New York Times Magazine piece by Ted C. Fishman, whose book The Shock of Gray was published last month. He’s talking about China, whose older workers have been largely excluded from the economic boom. “No country sorts its population more ruthlessly by age,” writes Fishman.
I took an instant liking to Claudia Fine, the Executive Vice President of SeniorBridge, a national organization that provides health and care management. We met in her midtown office, following up on a connection I’d made through a journalism seminar. She was warm, candid, and impatient with institutional dumbness.