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Ageism is becoming an issue for me
By Dave Winer on Monday, January 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM.

A picture named chair.jpgI've been seeing a lot more ageism lately.  permalink

By ageism, I mean people saying that my age makes me less intelligent, informed, clued, aware, whatever. It's never rational, not part of an intelligent discussion. I can't probe the people to find out what they mean. I assume they're expressing some frustration and projecting it on me. permalink

It happens almost every day. I'm not talking about things happening in my imagination. It's very real and I find it as disturbing as racism, sexism, etc. Only this is one thing that eventually gets everyone, so it's different.  permalink

Switch gears to the flap over Harry Reid and his comments about President Obama's race. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what it means. Mine is that Reid is inarticulate, a bumbler, he screws up this way a lot. I have no idea how a person likes this ends up in his position as Senate Majority Leader, but there you have it. I think Reid was this inarticulate at every age.  permalink

Earlier today I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR and heard an interview with Keli Goff from the Huffington Post. The interview started with an explanation that linked Reid's embarassing words to his age. She went out on a limb, way too far, although later in the interview she walked it back a bit.  permalink

This led to an afternoon of heated exchanges on Twitter. Lots of nasty stuff was said about people of my age, most of them untrue. What troubles me is that there is no general acceptance for insults based on race, religion or gender, but age-based insults have no taboo. permalink

Bring up ageism and out comes it comes -- it's the one insult that's considered socially acceptable. It's like watching an old movie where women, blacks, Native Americans or Chinese were assumed inferior. Only it's here and now, in 2010. permalink

Inside I think of myself as young. At age 54, it's ridiculous that I have to defend against ageism, but there you have it. It's here, so we'll deal with it.  permalink

You know everyone has only so much time on this planet. If you're trying to do good with your life, that's all you should have to know about someone. From there, our struggles or birthmarks are not issues for others to use against them. Barack Obama was born half-black and half-white. I was born Jewish and white.  permalink

I care about your ideas, your deeds, your sense of humor. I love that Goff was so generous in defense of Reid, asking where was the racism. It was a shame she couldn't see her own ageism. permalink

Here's an MP3 of the segment. permalink

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