Unfortunately, discrimination is still alive and well in 2013. I’m talking specifically about age discrimination. I was with my children in the family changeroom at a local pool last week, and this is the conversation I overheard:
- Senior: “Why are you taking that blowdryer?”
- Teenager: “Because it’s mine, I forgot it when I was here yesterday.”
- Senior: “Well it’s clipped onto the mirror. I think you’re stealing it.”
- Teen: (flustered/teary) “No, it’s mine. I forgot it here yesterday and called the pool and asked them to hold it for me so that I could pick it up today.”
- Senior: “Well I’m reporting you to the front desk for stealing.”
- Teen: (crying) “Okay, well I will come with you. I didn’t steal it, it’s my blowdryer.”
And off they went.
This conversation made me so angry. I was angry at the Senior for false accusations, bullying, and age discrimination, and I was angry at myself that I didn’t speak up and say something.
I remember being a teenager, full of insecurities, uncertainties, and hormones. I also remember the frustration of being lumped into a category of ‘irresponsible’, ‘flippant’, and ‘careless’ simply because of my age. Today’s teens are often generalized as ‘entitled’ and ‘lazy’, and perhaps some of them are. But many of them are not. There are far more ‘good teens’ than ‘bad teens’, just as there are far more ‘good people’ than ‘bad people’. Look for the good. Focus on the good.
Don’t assume that a teenager is stealing, or that a Senior is grumpy, or that a woman is emotional. Don’t assume that a Mom is frazzled, or that a baby is fussy, or that a child is out-of-control.
The world would be a lot better place if we just gave people the benefit of the doubt, don’t-cha think?