Ageism - Ways To Reduce Ageism
Ways to reduce ageism
To reduce ageism, Americans first need to recognize the ageist stereotypes they hold and work to overcome those stereotypes by treating each person as an individual. Just as racism and sexism have been reduced to a certain degree in American society through education and training, the same techniques and strategies could help reduce ageism. Many employers and communities provide diversity training and lessons about ageism, and age discrimination should be included in these diversity programs.
Education about identifying and preventing ageist attitudes and practices should also be incorporated into the diversity programs in the schools, as well as in the workplace. For example, during African American History Month or Women's History Month, students learn to understand and appreciate the efforts and benefits against racism and sexism and to admire the successes of people of different races and genders. Similarly, literature and teaching within the classroom could show the diversity of aging to reduce and eliminate stereotypes. Case studies and lessons about age discrimination can be included in management school courses and textbooks to teach future supervisors and business leaders about the harmful consequences of ageism.
More positive images of older persons and of aging in the media would significantly reduce ageism in American culture. Featuring active, healthy, productive, and successful older persons in television shows, movies, and commercial advertising would counteract the negative perceptions many people have about aging and the elderly.
To reach this end, the advertising industry, which understandably focuses on income revenue, will have to recognize and appreciate the vast consumer potential of older people. Studies showing that older consumers are a significant market may provide the advertising industry with the impetus to target older audiences with more positive portrayals of aging.
The more young, old and middle-aged people see and relate to each other in ways that refute ageist stereotypes, the more likely the negative stereotypes will change toward more positive views about aging.
CATHY VENTRELL MONSEES
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