A Brief History of Age Discrimination

A Brief History of
Age Discrimination
Dear Millard Employee,
Thank you for user-testing this rough draft of an
age discrimination lesson. Please give
feedback on content. If you could improve the
lesson what would you add? At this time the
“look” of the presentation isn’t important. Return
your feedback to me by the end of the week.
You can meet with me in person or write a
paragraph or two and email it.
Thank you for your time
Millard’s Instructional Designer
How do you see yourself at
age 70?
Think of characteristics about yourself that will be positive
Think of characteristics about yourself that will be negative
Jot these down on a sheet of paper
What will I
be like?
Attitudes towards the elderly
have changed over time
Attitudes in Colonial America towards the elderly were much
more favorable than they are today
Older people were respected, few people reached the age of 65
Older people were given the best pews in church
Puritans instructed youth on how to treat the elderly
Puritans believed old age was a sign of favor
The American Revolution
marked a change in attitudes
towards the elderly
Powdered wigs lost favor to toupees
Clothing was tailored to look young
Terms of respect became pejorative
Old Fogy
“I have lived some 30 years
on this planet and I have yet
to hear the first syllable of
valuable or even earnest
advice from my seniors. They
have told me nothing and
probably cannot teach me
Henry David Thoreau
Current attitudes towards age
Fear of aging
Mandatory retirement meant mandatory poverty
Literature less frequently assigns active and attractive roles to older
Denial of death is common
“You are as old as you feel”
“Age before beauty” (implying that age is ugly)
Assigned characteristics
equally possible in other age
Keep their distance from other age groups
Drive dangerously
Think the world owes them a living
Never satisfied and always complaining
Can’t depend on them as employees
Hang around parks and shopping malls
Have more freedom than other people
Don’t act their age
Respond to these questions
on a sheet of paper
Was your image of yourself at 70 the start of this presentation positive
or negative? Describe the positive and negative characteristics you
assigned yourself.
Did your image of yourself employ any of the prejudices described in
this presentation? If so, what were they?
Do you think that few, many, or most of the prejudices towards the
elderly described in this presentation are true today? Which
characteristics are true and are not true?
If you see a fellow employee treating the elderly with disrespect, what
would you say or do to correct the situation?