Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ageism in the Media and Social Media

I have been noticing lately that there seems to be an increasing amount of referencing of angry, old, white men or some other way of disparaging someone because of their age. Even the recent debate moderator, Jim Lehrer, was put down because of his age. One pundit wrote, "I hope I’m still working at 78, but you see the downside.”(Michael Wolff) On the Daily Kos site there have been several diaries recently to reference the angry, old, white men meme. I.E. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/02/1126962/-Must-Read-LTE-Angry-Old-White-Men. Now, I am not an old white man. Actually, I am an old white woman. And I am starting to get angry about all the references to age in the media and social media. I follow Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Daily Kos. I read many blogs and diaries everyday. And I get upset with all the young writers who are lumping all of us over 60 into the angry, old, white person category. I refuse to be categorized. If you looked at my photo, you might assume that I am a nice little, old, lady who is socially conservative. And if you did, then, you'd be very wrong. I am a pro-choice, progressive Democrat who wants to see our country get away from dependence on petroleum and move toward sustainable energy products. I want to reign in the military industrial complex and put more of our tax dollars to work re-building our infrastructure and developing programs to help people get out of poverty. I don't think giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires is the way to do this. I want to see more equality in the United States of America and support marriage equality, equal pay, and I would like to see renewed efforts toward an Equal Rights Amendment to our Constitution. I am not crazy about The Patriot Act or the fact that our President signed an extension of it last year. I support the ACLU and their efforts to repeal it. However, I must trust that the President had some very good reasons for his last minute signing of the extension. Now, I wonder, do any of the media-types ever wonder why some older folks are angry? When I was younger, I used to wonder why some older people seemed cranky. Now that I am older, I think I am beginning to understand. I can't presume to speak for others, however. So, what follows is merely what makes me angry. I get angry when people don't listen. Often, they are just waiting for you to finish talking so they can talk. Haven't you ever had the experience where you were talking with someone and were interrupted? Then, when you tried to resume the conversation, neither of you could remember what you'd been saying? I can't tell you how many times I've told my adult children something only to have them later act like they'd never heard it before. That tells me they weren't even listening when I first said it. And that makes me angry. I also get upset when someone assumes they know what I am thinking or feeling. How audacious of them! Like I said before, don't put me into one of your categories. Don't assume. Ask. Makes a whole lot of difference and is much more respectful. I am also angry because I've heard some pretty stupid excuses made by some pretty smart people. Do they really think I am that naive and simple that I would buy into their platitudes? Seriously, if you don't want to make me angry, then I would encourage you to treat me just like you do any other person you encounter every day. Don't look at my gray hair and wrinkles and assume you know what makes me tick. You might try asking me a question and then listening to my answer. And if you disagree with me, please know that I am a big girl and I can accept that we have a difference of opinion. I will promise you to work just as hard at understanding your view as you do to understand mine. So here's the deal. I won't put you down for being young and lacking experience and you can try respecting the idea that I've been around the block a few times and might have something worthwhile to add to the conversation. Finally, to paraphrase what an favorite teacher once told me, I won't believe what they tell me about young people, if you won't believe what they tell you about old people.

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