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author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva

Ageism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice in America

Just stumbled upon this old Bill Maher's clip - Ageism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice in America (it's HBO, so might be a bit NSFW). It's just 6 minutes long and well worth watching IMHO. While it's not about IT industry, of course, it resonated with me a lot.

And one guy in the comments nailed it:
"Bill makes a lot of good points, but experience is a double edged sword. It's great for when things that haven't changed, but it can make it hard to adapt when things do change. Every great team has a mix of young guns pushing the envelope and older vets steadying the ship. Without the older ones, past mistakes get repeated; but without the influence of younger ones there is stagnation and a lack of fresh eyes on the problems at hand. You need both."

Of course, this SCN classic also comes to mind.

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  • May 24, 2017 at 10:21 PM

    Bill Maher touched slightly one point, on which he did not elaborate enough, and the commenter missed it completely - the talk was not just about ageism, but also about stereotypes. And this guy was generalizing!
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expressed it better than I could possibly do that in English:

    So that is how to create a single story,
    show a people as one thing, as only one thing
    over and over again, and that is what they become.
    The single story creates stereotypes,
    and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.
    They make one story become the only story.
    I've always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person
    without engaging with all the stories of that place and person.
    The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity.
    It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult.
    It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.
    • May 25, 2017 at 04:44 PM

      Yeah, when you think about it the comment is practically the definition of ageism. :) Young = inexperienced, old = unable to change. I'm sure anyone can name many real life examples that are just the opposite.

      But what I agree with is that the strength lies in diversity. Even if not exactly for the reasons stated in the comment but simply because of "different "stories".

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