Dr. Scott Lewis
Ageism in America
In 1968, physician Robert Butler, the founding director of the National Institute on aging, came up with the term Ageism, which is the prejudice and discrimination against the elderly. Ageism reflects a deep uneasiness amongst the young and middle-aged people about growing old. For many people, old age symbolizes disease and death. When young and middle age adults see the elderly, it reminds them that they too will become old and infirm (Schaefer, 2004). Like I stated before, for many, old age symbolizes the stigma of disease. With ageism being extremely common in America, it is hardly surprising that older people are barely visible on television. According to (Schaefer, 2004), in 2002, the Senate Special Committee on Aging convened a panel on the medias portrayal of older people and severely criticized the media and marketing executives for bombarding audiences with negative images of the aged. The social consequences of such images are significant. Older people who have positive perceptions of aging live an average of 7.5 years longer than those who have negative perceptions (Schaefer, 2004). There are even acts to help out the elderly like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or the A.D.E.A., was passed to protect workers forty years of age and older form being fired because of their age and replaced with younger workers who presumably would receive lower salaries. The Supreme Court strengthened federal protection against age discrimination in 1996, saying unanimously that such lawsuits can be successful even if an older worker is replaced by one who s older than forty years old. So, even if a firm unfairly fires a sixty five year old man to make way for a forty five year old, it is still age discrimination (Schaefer, 2004). It is said that prior to the enactment of the A.D.E.A., there was evidence of hiring discrimination against...
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