Every once in a while, you run into something that blows your mind a little. Nothing to get really angry about, unless you’re the type of person who’s easily triggered into anger. Just enough to make you heave a deep sigh and wonder if things will ever change. And realize that, no, they probably won’t.
So this rant focuses on an example of ageism that was probably meant kindly, but betrays the belief that there are classes of people, whether it’s the handicapped, people of color, or whatever, who are admirable simply for being able to do things that “normal” people do.
This morning, I left a comment in a discussion on a website that I read regularly. When I went back to see how the discussion was progressing and, possibly leave another comment, there was the one that provoked this rant. It was out of the blue, and totally irrelevant to the discussion. It was addressed to me and praised me for still writing and speaking about things that I believe in, at 70. So the person knows something about me, but is a bit behind on the age thing. If 70 is amazing, maybe 77 is just too unbelievable to mention publicly. Or maybe the person doesn’t really know me that well.
As I said, it was probably meant kindly, but was a perfect example of the condescension that people display, quite unconsciously, toward anyone who differs from their concept of “normal.” And believe me, I get just as annoyed when it’s aimed at other classes of “exceptional” people. Ageism isn’t even the worst of it.