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Just when a naïve person thought, undoubtedly, this world, and specifically our region is generously supplied with factors of discrimination, based on race, class and even the color, he was introduced to an increasing phenomenon of discrimination that has made its presence felt in the important and significant domains of the society. This ever increasing phenomenon of discrimination has been given a very subtle tag by the society, which opted to obscure yet another primary, ever prevailing discrimination based on age, primarily old age, known as ageism. The phenomenon of ageism or discrimination based on age is not subjected only to the older people, but it very openly and generously targets even the middle aged individuals counting on their years.
Ageism, which is a formal terminology for the actual act, age discrimination, is the phenomenon of tagging, showing judgment or stereotyping, against certain groups or individuals, based on the factor of their age. Ageism encompasses certain approaches, beliefs and prejudice that become the basis for justifying the phenomenon of age discrimination.
The emergence of this phenomenon, or this term, can be dated back to 1968, when Robert Neil Butler used it for the first time, in endeavor to portray the discrimination that widely takes place against the seniors, and was believed to be chiefly modeled on the spectrum of racism, as well as sexism. According to Butler, the subject and matter of ageism is the amalgamation of three interlinked fundamentals. These three fundamentals are the key prejudice or the prejudicious approach that is assumed against the older individuals, their age or the process of aging itself; the prevalence of practices of discrimination on a broader scale against the old people; and most importantly, the practice at the state or institutional level, which plays a pivotal role in propagating discrimination against the old people based on their age (McGuire, p. 11).
Major Domains of Age Discrimination
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As discussed earlier, over time the matter of ageism or age discrimination is becoming one of the main arenas of discrimination and stereotyping in this country. There are specific imperative arenas that encompass and even propagate this absurd phenomenon of indefinable discrimination. Most importantly, this process and development is believed to act as the crucial factor that induces the feeling and sense of deprivation in the people who primarily suffer from this curse. Below mentioned are the main arenas in which the practice of ageism or the age discrimination touches its utmost heights and limits (Saputelli, p. 41).
Work Employment and Harassment
Interestingly, the common perception that prevails regarding the age discrimination or ageism in the work place pertains to the factor of specific age limits for being eligible or valid for further employment, or even seeking employment in a new place. However, this phenomenon may have a trickle-down effect, in a rather different manner. It means that not only the older individuals, but even the middle aged are also subjected to this discrimination. For many individuals the discrimination is either based on their rather unequal pay rate or scale, even if their experience or position is the same as others.
As discussed earlier, the discrimination finds its basis on the treatment of an individual in a less favorable manner, based on his age. In current times, the prime victims of this discrimination in a work place are usually the individuals over the age of 40 years. There are numerous policies in certain organizations that may play a significant role in either indirectly or directly posing discrimination against the old workers. The most important and viable age discrimination pertains to the denial of employment, or more importantly, the forceful retirement of the older worker that mainly starts at the age of 65 and above.
Yet another discrimination, which pertains to the age in the work environment is attributed to the trainings that are most of the time provided by the same party or chunk of employees (even management), which not only render the training, but are also important advocates of the subtle execution of policies or the actions that may conform to the factors of age discrimination. Most of the times, the individuals who have the responsibility of rendering the certain training sessions, set a specific age limit for the trainees to participate in the training sessions, which significantly rules out the possibility of any old worker, or even a middle aged employee, endeavoring to capitalize on the new skills and knowledge being provided (Dennis, p. 84).
In numerous instances it has been widely witnessed that an applicant is refused or denied the job, based on his age, mainly because despite encompassing the talent and required skills, he was rather old for the job or position. Numerous diligent workers suffer from the act of being rejected the promotion, mainly because they were rather too old, and the young lot was ready to take over and therefore, technically, based on the latest knowledge or the policies of the organization, he simply could not surpass them. Moreover, it has also been found that organizations widely believed that older individuals are not valuable to the organization in any aspect, and are rather a liability to the sound working, swift execution of the processes and endurance to the changing technological aspect on continuous basis. With respect to the factor of harassment, numerous individuals, both old and middle aged have been witnessed to be subjected to harassment in their working environment, via the derogatory or discriminatory remarks, some subtle teasing and much more.
Let alone the arena of work employment, even the vital domain like health care could not evade the influence of discriminatory practices. Numerous scholars and researchers have varying views regarding the discrimination that is shown by the physicians and practitioners in the health vicinities, yet a few of them still adhere to the fact that physicians do possess a certain attitude, belief and approach towards treating the older people, and take considerably less interest in treating their health related issues, in comparison to other in-house patients or ailing individuals. Most of the physicians and other health care workers have even witnessed to attribute certain negative connotations to older patients, such as either crazy or depressing. More importantly, the greatest dilemma that the healthcare domain endures with respect to the age discrimination, is the fact that reasons why physicians tend to focus on older patients more than others, is because they believe that they have substantially lived their lives, and even if their lives are brought back to the track after putting utmost diligence and efforts into it, then what is the guarantee that he is going to live rather long and ailment free life. Therefore, neither are they worth spending time at, when that time can be employed to save a more important and younger life, which somehow after the recovery guarantees a long healthy life, nor are they worth spending so much money (Kane, p. 49).
Media and Commercial
When every domain had joined the race, how could media stay back? It will not be wrong to say that most of the time it is the media that shapes up the concepts and perception of the society and its inhabitants. Over time there have been numerous illustrations pertaining to media and their practices with respect to ageism or age discrimination. For instance, a naive eye has witnessed various ads, where older people are shown idly or helplessly sitting on a chair, considering that fun and charm of their lives is over, believing that they now cannot get back on their feet in terms of supporting and financing themselves; that they have become morally and physically handicapped and now are greatly dependent on someone else’s support, and that is the point where they show that an insurance policy, which is devised specially for these older people who are of no use anymore, and are not even in a position to help their own selves. Moreover, in numerous movies, sitcoms and other shows older people are shown to be rather finicky, agitated and individuals who lack the understanding and assimilation of numerous situations.
Effect of Ageism
As discussed earlier, the phenomenon of ageism or age discrimination has a direct effect on those individuals who are being subjected to it. The constant rejection or approach of not being eligible or worth being discriminated plays a pivotal role in affecting behaviors and self-esteem of those individuals in a rather detrimental manner. These connotations attached to them may prone them to assimilate themselves as being worthless and dependent. Eventually even they will start perceiving themselves in the same manner as how the society perceives them, and welcome the never-ending span of depression and loneliness (Nolan, p. 317).
Attempts of Different Countries against Ageism
The phenomenon of age discrimination is gradually becoming a global dilemma. Therefore, it is not only the United States, but other numerous developed countries that are subjected to this curse. However, over time these countries have started to battle this curse away, by introducing certain laws and processes, which will play a pivotal role in ensuring that age discrimination or ageism quickly sees an end.
For instance, apart from the USA, Australia specifically has taken stern measures regarding this increasing and detrimental epidemic of age discrimination and passed laws which would compel the employers to give up practices that promote age discrimination, such as forceful retirement, denial of employment (in a new work place) and much more. Somewhat similar steps were taken by Canada as well. Canada also went to the extent of getting rid of age discrimination by abolishing the age-based retirement by the end of year 2011.
However, in case of the USA, every state relishes its own set of laws and regulation, regarding age discrimination. For instance, the state of California has introduced laws that prohibit discrimination of individuals older than 40. ADEA, introduced by the US equal opportunity rights plays a significant role in safeguarding individuals of 40 years or older; where unneeded discrimination is forbidden under certain circumstances (Saputelli, p. 41).
As if the world had gone weary of the other discriminatory practices and prejudice that a new dimension and category to the arena of discrimination was mandatory to be introduced by inhabitants of the modern world. This age discrimination not only makes a person feel useless, but in order to justify their own devised rules, tend to overlook the potential the person encompasses and the benefit he can bring to the organization. Therefore, it is highly imperative that astute measures are taken by the government to reflect their effectiveness, so that the society can be disburdened by the curse of this discriminatory practice.