Ageism is get­ting old

The Washington Post - - CAPITAL BUSINESS -

Evan Thomas’s Jan. 9 Wed­nes­day Opin­ion es­say, “How old is too old to be pres­i­dent?,” served as a re­minder of the re­mark­able re­silience of ageism. Amid an oth­er­wise in­ter­est­ing as­sort­ment of his­tor­i­cal al­lu­sions, a uni­fy­ing theme could be found in Mr. Thomas’s col­umn: Be­ing old(er) is, in all prob­a­bil­ity, not a good thing. Hit a cer­tain age and, as he puts it, you might be “worn out.”

Ageism is an in­ter­est­ing phe­nom­e­non. In the case of just about ev­ery other prej­u­dice — e.g., based on race, eth­nic­ity, sex­u­al­ity, gen­der, dis­abil­ity, etc. — rea­son­able peo­ple are at least aware of the idea that mak­ing sweep­ing judg­ments based on such iden­ti­fiers is not okay. But ageism still gets a pass. We might ask why. No­tably, Mr. Thomas lamented that older peo­ple “can be too con­fi­dent in their judg­ments” and heed­less of facts. Gosh, that could be said about lots of peo­ple, re­gard­less of age, wouldn’t you say? Judg­ing peo­ple on their age is get­ting old. Let’s make it a thing of the past.

Jo Ann Jenk­ins, Wash­ing­ton The writer is chief ex­ec­u­tive of AARP.

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