Stereotyping or discrimination due to age / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Ageism[1][2][3] is bias against, discrimination towards, or bullying of individuals and groups on the basis of their age. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against the elderly, patterned on the terminology of sexism and racism.[4] Butler defined ageism as a combination of three connected elements. Originally it was identified chiefly towards older people, old age, and the aging process; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about elderly people.[5][6]

Robert N. Butler, founding director of the National Institute on Aging who coined the term "ageism"

The term "ageism" has also been used to describe the oppression of younger people by older people. An example of this is in a 1976 pamphlet published by Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor, MI.[7] In the UK, Councillor Richard Thomas pointed out that age discrimination works against younger as well as older people at a meeting of the Bracknell Forest Council in March of 1983.[8] It has also been used in regards to prejudice and discrimination, especially against adolescents and children, such as denying them certain rights and privileges usually reserved for adults. These include the right to vote, run for political office, refuse medical treatment, and sign contracts.[9] This definition of ageism can also include ignoring the ideas and contributions of adolescents and children because they are considered "too young", or assuming that they should behave in certain ways because of their younger age. Ageism against the young also includes penalties, burdens, or requirements imposed exclusively or to a greater degree on young people than on older people, such as age-based military conscription.[10] In a youth-oriented society, however, older people bear a large proportion of age bias and discrimination. Older people themselves can be deeply ageist, having internalized a lifetime of negative stereotypes about aging.[11] Ageism is often attributed to fears of death and disability, with avoiding, segregating, and rejecting older people serving as coping mechanisms that allow people to avoid thinking about their own mortality.[12] Stigma and discrimination around the loss of physical or mental capacity is actually ableism, not ageism, and aging is lifelong. Like other forms of bias, ageism is not based in biology but socially constructed.

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