Jeff Japp, in his Stuff Jeff Reads blog, muses about another of the super-insidious yet not as often mentioned “isms” ingrained and “toxic-normalized” into our culture, alongside racism and sexism/misogyny, linking what we see now with what Shakespeare wrote about in King Lear.
“This is still a part of our society. We all like to think we hold reverence for the elderly, but the fact is that neglect and abuse of the old is rampant. In addition, there is the subtle and insidious elder abuse which manifests as ageism in the workplace. Older workers are routinely passed over in favor of younger candidates, which only adds to the feelings of uselessness and despair that sadly accompany aging all too often.” (full post: link below)
These kinds of “isms,” issues, and insights are heart and core of a new project and body of work I’ve been gestating and beginning, drawing deeply from the well of personal and professional experience.
With regard to the ageism Jeff notes, I’ve heard people who are passionate and eloquent activists when it comes to other “isms” — including (so-called) Millennials or Gen-Yers who may be fairly aware of racism and #MeToo sexism, for example — casually and cluelessly make really disrespectful, derisive, and ageist comments about “old people” (vs. the more respectful term, Elders).
Or — here’s a big one — horrifically nasty comments about mature women in relationship with men (or sometimes women) who are ‘calendar years’ younger than they are (that one is a toxic blend of ageism and misogyny).
Think the current leading couple in France (love them, and appreciate how he is such a solid ally!), though there are a lot of other examples rising up just now, and thus ripe for the googling.
There are also great examples about breaking the norms and building wonderful, valued relationships regardless of age (etc.) differences and despite the “ism” toxins that flow abundantly from wounded, unconscious people in a generations-long toxic-normal culture.
We deconstruct the root-rot that expresses as “isms,” and reclaim and stand for dignity and the Beauty Way of Relating, moment by moment, choice by choice, step by step.
We just stop participating in the support and expression of those toxic-normal abuses.
We stop making like it’s okay when someone in our circle makes malicious, scape-goating ‘ist’ comments or ‘jokes’ at the expense of another person or group of people.
Because we know — we really do know — that it’s nasty, not okay.
But that starts with seeing. Like the Golden Rule that I wrote about recently.
Moment by Moment. Choice by Choice. Step by Step. Lots of us. However imperfectly.
Beautiful, powerful, transformative possibilities in that.
Find related Food for Insight & Inspiration in this Sophia’s Children reflection:
Congrats, too, Jeff, on the 1000th blog post! That’s a milestone to celebrate.
Big Love, and May We Be the Big Love, More and More…
Featured Image Credit: Elder, by Omar Alnahi.
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