Age Discrimination: Nobody Likes It to Happen to Them | Teen Ink

Age Discrimination: Nobody Likes It to Happen to Them

February 8, 2010
By BrainsANDBeauty PLATINUM, Donnellson, Iowa
BrainsANDBeauty PLATINUM, Donnellson, Iowa
29 articles 3 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
I knew that guy when he was a caterpillar, you know, before he 'came out'

Age discrimination is a large issue in the United States today. All ages can be discriminated against, teenagers are considered shifty and untrustworthy, elderly considered incapable, youth considered boisterous. It affects not only the people who are discriminated against, but also those who lose valuable relationships by judging them based on age.

Picture this: a teenage boy, with a group of friends, walks laughing into a store. They scan the magazine section, walk by the candy, and then walk out without making any purchases. What is the first perception of this? It might be, and in many cases it is, that they stole something. Maybe the employee working behind the register will even go as far as to call the police on these boys, who didn’t steal anything, but were discriminated against simply because they were “unruly teenage boys”.

This happens every day, all over America. We don’t tell the youth very much, because they “won’t understand”, they’re “too young”. We gawk when elderly people run marathons, or even participate in simple recreational activities such as volleyball or swimming, because they are “old”, and “incapable”.

People who are discriminated against, no matter the reason, can be hurt by it. Age discrimination is the same as racial discrimination, or religious discrimination. They can be offended, because it isn’t something they can help. Like my example of the teenage boy above, he was simply having fun as he walked into the store. He had no intention of stealing anything or causing any trouble, he could even be an honor roll student and an athlete, and he was still discriminated against for being a teenager.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should explain to your three year old sister about your sexual education class, or sign your great uncle up for a marathon, but give them a little credit. They are capable of doing things we are, and sometimes more. So next time you tell your little brother/sister/cousin that they’re “too young to understand” or assume that your grandmother is “too old” to participate in athletic activities, listen to yourself. I know you are offended by being judged as a teenager, so how do you think they feel? Remember, it all hurts. Everyone deserves equal opportunities, regardless of age, race, or religion.

The author's comments:
This was inspired by when I was holding my newborn baby cousin at a public gathering, people kept glaring at me and whispering about me. I thought it was rude of them to judge me based on my age, and the child which was not mine but I still felt protective over. I heard other accounts of people being judged based on their age, one of them being my own grandmother who snow skis with the rest of us every winter, and keeps me speeding up to follow her. I hope people will understand the error of age discrimination, and if not, at least see my point of view.

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This article has 24 comments.

on Jul. 18 2015 at 8:54 pm
Hi there. Me and my friends plan to start a report adultism ring some next month. Adultism is when adults think they power over kids. By reporting Adultism to our site, we will complain to the company or complain to them. Would you like to be in it. It's going to be a private group on Facebook. E mail me at if you are interested.

on Oct. 2 2014 at 12:31 pm
I agree that age discrimination is a problem especially where i live as i have been cautioned and almost arrested by police officers several times when walking with friends because they think we're a group of anti-social thugs. One officer even verbally abused me and kept referring to me as "stealing scum who bully poor kids" even though i hadn't done anything wrong.He caught a snippet of my own conversation which had nothing to do with him and thourght i had said something offensive to him.And they wonder why people my age (sometimes) have problems with authority.

on May. 8 2014 at 12:54 pm
yes its that u felt disciminated but nothing we can do and its referd  as racial and it can happen to anyone....... i have seen peple dicriminate others and they dont expect u to answer back but they  

on Apr. 28 2014 at 1:20 pm
WOWriting SILVER, Broadstairs, Other
5 articles 0 photos 266 comments
I agree that there is age discrimination and I think it's terrible that people judge other people when they're perfectly innocent/capable, but if an adult is saying that you can't do something because of your young age, I think it can sometimes be dignified. There r some things you won't be able to do and if people judge you inappropriately, rather than getting all 'eggy' with them, you could ask them why they think that and maybe even prove them wrong. You don't have to create tension and you can have a fair debate with somebody about it. Really like the article even so.

DRG330 said...
on Nov. 16 2013 at 5:48 am
I am 50.  I agree that young people are not taken seriously.  For example, when you turn 18, you are STILL not considered able to make adult decisions.  So many assumptions about young people.  Older people demand respect yet don't give respect to anyone under 21.  It's worse if you are under 18.  I think younger and older people can learn from each other.  A lot of hypocrasy in this country...

on Mar. 5 2013 at 2:12 pm
This article is completely true. I see it everywhere, and it happens a lot to me, like when I went to best buy the other day, I was trying to get someone to help me find something, but even though I got there first, the guy helped like 3 adultsbefore me, just because of my age, and it drives me crazy, and I'm gladmore people are sick of it too. 

on Dec. 28 2012 at 3:07 pm
dude ur g-ma sounds bad-ass

on Sep. 14 2012 at 8:37 pm
mia.juliana BRONZE, Memphis, Tennessee
1 article 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.” - Stephen King

I love this so much.  I've experienced the exact problem with my stepmother.  Every time she sees me and we talk, she makes jokes about, since I'm a teenager, me doing drugs, sneaking out, etc.  It bothers me to no end, because I would never do any of that!  Anyway, I always wanted to write about it, or see someone else bring it up, but I could never find the words.  Thank you for this post.

steezcsb said...
on Sep. 11 2012 at 8:25 am
tru everybody is judged based on their age

desiraecat said...
on Jul. 6 2012 at 7:57 am
I agree, I think once gays and imigrens are done being discriminated, It will be our time.

zobean GOLD said...
on Jun. 18 2012 at 6:16 pm
zobean GOLD, Northfield, Massachusetts
16 articles 1 photo 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A Good player inspires themselves. A GREAT player inspires others."

So true! There have been countless times when I have personally been held back by age discrimination, or witnessed it. It effects our society more then we realize. Thanks for opening up some eyes

on May. 5 2012 at 9:38 pm, Billings, Montana
0 articles 0 photos 7 comments
Wow! I didn't even realize this was an issue until I read your article and now I see it everwhere! Thanks for enlightening me!

KatsK DIAMOND said...
on May. 5 2012 at 6:36 pm
KatsK DIAMOND, Saint Paul, Minnesota
57 articles 0 photos 301 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind.
~Hans Hofmann
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

Yeah, my friend got that as well. Nobody likes to be stereotyped, and even though adults sometimes thing they're so superior, they're not. Have you seen Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? Case in point.

on Mar. 22 2012 at 10:14 am
beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
35 articles 0 photos 1398 comments

Favorite Quote:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Yeah we forget about age discrimination sometimes too. I'm tired of my mom telling me I'm too young to understand something. Now granted she has more experience on me about some things, but come on, adults aren't experts at everything. It sucks to be stereotyped just because you're a teen, but that feeling reminds me of how others must feel in similar situations. 

on Mar. 22 2012 at 10:14 am
beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
35 articles 0 photos 1398 comments

Favorite Quote:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Yeah we forget about age discrimination sometimes too. I'm tired of my mom telling me I'm too young to understand something. Now granted she has more experience on me about some things, but come on, adults aren't experts at everything. It sucks to be stereotyped just because you're a teen, but that feeling reminds me of how others must feel in similar situations. 

on Feb. 7 2012 at 11:50 pm
Kingdom_of_the_Forgotten GOLD, Ogden, Utah
12 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Time, the cradle of hope.... Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it: he that has made it his friend will have little to fear from his enemies, but he that has made it his enemy will have little to hope from his friends." ~Charles Caleb Colton

I personally hate it when people assume I'm incapable/stupid because my grades might not be up to par. My issue is that I don't do the work because it's too simple or pointless, but if you were to look at just about any test I've taken you'd see the opposite of the previously stated assumption.

Unknown0_0 said...
on Feb. 7 2012 at 2:35 pm
Unknown0_0, Valrico, Florida
0 articles 2 photos 253 comments
This is so true, one of my friends was babysitting a little girl and she took her for a walk and she kept on getting all these dirty looks. So rude! No one cares to consider most teens opinions either, like they don't think we are smart enough to make good choices.

on Apr. 27 2011 at 6:59 pm
Roseyalia SILVER, Don&#39t Need To Know, California
7 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. I don't care, I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me. Take me out to the black. Tell 'em I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, but you can't take the sky from me.

This is so true.  I can't count how many times I've been told (either directly or indirectly), "You're too young, you can't do this, you're not smart enough, of course all adults are smarter than you."  It makes me feel so put down.  Whenever someone does that, I instantly start looking for ways to prove to them that I am just as smart or smarter than any adult who wants to challenge me.

Lysergia said...
on Apr. 27 2011 at 4:45 pm
Lysergia, Washougal, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Look down at me and you see a fool;
look up at me and you see a god;
look straight at me and you see yourself”

My grandma grew up in germany during world war II. Now she is 80 and speaks and reads 4 languages, has her masters in business, she still goes to college just to learn new things, just took a computer class and can take it apart and put one together better then me, rock climbs, swims 3-miles a day, jogs 1 mile a day, and her docter says she has the best red blood cell count he has ever seen. I would be horrified if anyone discrimated against her for her age after all she's done she certainly doesnt deserve it.

on Feb. 12 2011 at 8:05 pm
T.R.Trevino BRONZE, San Diego, California
1 article 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
'I cannot, nor will, recant anything, for it is neither safe nor wise to go against conscience.' -Martin Luther

A few weeks ago I was babysitting a two year old boy. I took him on a short walk to the park so he could playt on the plaground, which I knew was a hotspot for parents with little kids. So, I thought, he'll make a friend or two. He did, but the parents weren't real friendlyt with me. They glanced at me and whispered to another mom or dad. It was really rude. But the kid had a good time, so it was worth it.


Very good article, keep writing!