Youthists & Age Discrimination

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While attention is given to discrimination against people of different races, gender and sexual orientation, age discrimination remains a topic that few speak about. Feminists work for women's rights, civil rights activists work for the advancements of racial minorities, and youthists work for the recognition of youth. To me, being a youthist means to be proud of being young and to continuously strive to end age discrimination againt young people. The problem with age discrimination is that it is fundamentally rooted in the devaluing of youth and their ability to recognize the issues that affect them. Decisions are being made every day concerning youth from around the world, but no young people are part of that decision-making process.

Age discrimination is something that is prevalent in many countries. This is evidenced in the United States: The average senator and congressman are the ages of 60 and 55, respectively. While age does not reflect competency, there is a disservice done when there is such a disconnection between the policymakers and the youth. Although those under 18 may not be able to vote or sometimes may not have the intellectual ability equivalent to an adult, it does not mean that we do not have a right to have our voices heard. There is not a big intellectual discrepancy between the ages of 17 and 18, yet our government only chooses to recognize us once we cross that arbitrary threshold.

Sometimes, even upon reaching voting age, the voice of youth is undermined. I once visited two of my representatives in DC, and both of them spoke and answered questions in a way that made it seem they did not care what our opinions are, even from those who were present and over the age of 18. It is for the reason of disconnect that decisions being made can end up being faulty or inaccurate. It is also worth mentioning that although many youth councils aim to compensate for that disparity, it can ultimately be dangerous. By giving the the false illusion...
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