Please Cease Utilizing These Widespread Ageist Phrases

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Ageism is the “final acceptable bias,” a minimum of according to the AARP. Whereas age-based prejudice is extra usually directed at older staff, it does go each methods: “Each older and youthful adults are sometimes deprived within the office and entry to specialised coaching and schooling decline considerably with age,” says the World Health Organization. Within the office particularly, a 2019 study confirmed that one out of each 5 American staff age 40 and older mentioned they’ve confronted age discrimination.

However ageism isn’t all the time apparent discrimination. Typically it’s a small remark that subtly perpetuates the concept that “outdated” is code for “dangerous.” Take Kevin Hart’s now meme-ified reaction to Don Cheadle’s age. Even essentially the most well-intentioned feedback can become ageist microaggressions. Under are frequent phrases that usually do extra hurt than good in relation to addressing somebody’s age.

“You don’t look [insert age here]!”

Honorable point out: 50 is the brand new 25! Regardless that you most likely meant this as a praise, generally the implication right here is that no matter age they really are is “dangerous” for some motive. On this occasion, you would possibly wish to rethink whether or not you even must touch upon the individual’s age in any respect.

“They’re younger at coronary heart.”

From the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities:

Whereas most likely meant to convey a optimistic connotation or framed as a praise to a different, these statements ring undertones of ‘younger is sweet,’ ‘older is dangerous.’ We problem you to suppose by what it’s you actually imply. Are you referencing a excessive degree of power? Agility? Humorousness or playfulness? …Say these phrases as a substitute of generalizing perceived traits of any era.

In other words, try to identify the compliment you mean by “young.” This way, you avoid the implication that being “old” is antithetical to who they are.


Unless you’re talking about throwing spices on a chicken, “seasoned” comes across as a gentle way of dismissing someone as “old.” Like with the “young at heart” advice about, try to articulate what you really mean–whether that meaning is positive, e.g. “experienced,” or negative, e.g. “out-of-touch.”

“OK, boomer.”

I’ll admit it. My biggest issue with this phrase is that it’s hack comedy at this point. On a more serious level, “OK boomer” has the same problem as characterizing all millennials as “entitled.” It’s lazy and unfair to dismiss someone based solely on generational stereotypes.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

This one isn’t even true within the canine world. You would possibly say this one casually, with out actually which means something by it. Nevertheless, the sentiment right here may cause real economic harm when older individuals are principally seen as unteachable and thus unhirable.

“Can I assist you to, younger girl?”

Why are you calling my grandmother a younger girl? That is bizarre and assumes that younger is a praise, whereas actuality have to be an insult. Hey, maybe you don’t must reference her age in any respect.

“Younger man,” “Lady,” “Kiddo”

Except somebody is actually a toddler, please chorus from these patronizing (and creepy!) phrases.

“You most likely gained’t wish to use this new platform…” / You probably have bother studying the expertise…”

Even if you happen to’re attempting to be accommodating for older coworkers or relations, it’s condescending to imagine that they’ll reject new applied sciences. Within the office, this might shut them off from alternatives accessible to the remainder of your staff. If somebody is immune to a brand new platform, tackle it on a person foundation, moderately than letting it develop into a part of an age-based stereotype.

As a rule of thumb, take into consideration whether or not your feedback reinforce the concept that age is the end-all-be-all for a way somebody thinks, acts, and gives worth. When doubtful, you most likely don’t want to deal with somebody’s age in any respect.

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