Age Discrimination

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is less on discrimination, but more on unfair treatment of minors. "You are one" does not apply as a bias point here, because I'd feel the same way if I was 25. I did not write this for school, I did it because I was trying to make a point.

Submitted: June 05, 2008

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Submitted: June 05, 2008

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Age Discrimination: Why it is a bad thing to younger individuals, where it shines, and what can be done to help reduce it. Do you agree or do your opinions differ? Read and respond if you like. I'm interested to know.

Discrimination is a major problem in the world today, and I think we all know this - racism exists on all levels, however, I don't have any desire to debate topics such as sexism or race discrimination - I cannot justify the actions of people who feel it necessary to act out against these people when they've done nothing wrong. My issue is with something we do every day. Most people might say that they do not discriminate against anyone, but truthfully, we do so all the time without realizing it; at least the majority of us do.

When we discriminate based on age, we're doing something we shouldn't be, and it should be explained when it's not discrimination and simply being fair.

We, every day, usually naturally, even if it isn't verbal, may find ourselves saying that one person shouldn't be doing or saying something, or acting a certain way because they are younger than someone else. This is what I mean by we, the people, doing it every day, and even though it is minor, it happens.

When is it fair? It's fair when you set a legal drinking age, because even now, the regulation to keeping it from being readily available to those who aren't of age is extremely tedious. It isn't good for anything to those people under the age of twenty-one, for the most part, because of the damage it can do and the stupid decisions people can make.

It is fair to separate based on age when you need to assure, for certain, that there is a level of people you can be sure will be able to comprehend/understand/handle what is being thrown at them. Example: You cannot donate blood until you are seventeen. It's a good idea only because you might realize you are making a decision later on that you shouldn't have made, because for some people, donating blood might not be a good idea.

These are just examples. There are more where it is a good thing.

With that said, it is more than obvious in at least one other area that it is a problem. It becomes less relevant after the age of 21, because at that point, I suppose everyone has decided you're legally an adult and able to handle anything. I've felt the way I do now about this since I was twelve, and I plan to continue to support my argument for these things for years and years to come, so do not think this is being written because of any specific thing that happened or didn't happen. I just felt I needed to express this.

The problem here is in a number of different areas, and the ones I want to specifically highlight are the work force, obtaining a driver's license, applying to college/your school schedule, and suffrage.

First of all, in the United States, at least in this part of the country (I am not sure what the laws say in other parts of the country), the law states, generally, that it is understood you may not apply to work until you are sixteen years old. The issue here is not that that age is too old, but it it is that someone decided that ALL sixteen-year old adolescents are ready to work if they so desire, but ALL fifteen, fourteen, and thirteen-year old students are not.

Also, the problem is that there are so many sixteen, seventeen, etc. year-old kids who are working, not to their full potential, and earning income that those who are younger than them could easily obtain, and do a better job, too. Many go to work just to be able to say they have a job, and don't care about the quality of their work. Sure, they were good enough to be accepted, but unless I live in a bad part of the country, here, then I know from experience that the quality that upper-classmen in high school are giving at work is slim to none. So many can't stand to even make the trip to where their job is, and it interferes with school work to a point where it becomes a burden for them.

Unfortunately, there are students who are probably more apt to do well in school that could easily handle these jobs and keep their school work up, but the quality of that school work and the work produced in the job both suffers when someone who can't handle their priorities, but feels they need this job, applies and gets the job. It's amazing how easy it is to get accepted in to the work force these days at places like McDonald's and Six Flags, and how easy it is to get rejected because you're one or two years younger than the schmuck who applied a half hour ago that got the job because he was seventeen.

My solution is not, as most would probably suggest, "lower that age!" for work. No, I will tell you my solution later, because it works so well for all of my problems.

Another serious issue is that (again, in my part of the country), the legal age to have a full driving license for yourself is sixteen and a half years old (it may vary in other places, which I believe it does, but the range is not large). What is the problem? That's about two years into high school, where it's obvious that many kids who reach high school are at a point in their lives where depending on others to do something so simple as to reach point B from point A becomes unnecessary. Driving is dangerous, yes, and it isn't the easiest thing in the world. However, I doubt somebody who is just turning sixteen is far more able to handle those lessons than someone who is just turning fifteen or is fourteen and a half entering high school.

The problem, again, is that somebody assumed that ALL sixteen-year old students can be ready to apply for that license while ALL fifteen and fourteen-year olds aren't. Do you see a problem? I highly doubt that the "ALL" instance is true in either. It's kind of ridiculous knowing that our example person, who does well in school and would have no problem driving, has to rely on other methods of transportation to transport themselves from school to wherever else. I don't think it's a good idea to drive everywhere - being an environmentalist, I think people are more than capable of finding other ways to get to places if it's readily available. But seriously, a convenience so simple as self-transportation just like everyone else should not be denied to those younger than a specific age. It just doesn't add up.

What's the argument against this? "It needs to be sure that the people are ready and it wouldn't be fair if there was no age limit"? Something like that? My counterargument will be here later.

How about this one, now, a bigger one, if you will - the right to vote. Isn't it great knowing, as someone under eighteen, that even though the presidential candidates are trying to appeal to the education system and helping the youth, that the demographic they're trying to target can't really sway the decision either way directly? I think, personally, this is an age-old problem that goes back to believing you have to be eighteen to "understand" politics and "understand" what voting really means. You mean to tell me that the moment you turn eighteen, you immediately are qualified to "understand" all this? I don't know about that.

Finally, and while this is somewhat of a different argument, I have an issue with how education is set out for a lot of places. If you're a sophomore in high school, and you've known since freshman year what you want to go to college for, you must feel like a real schmuck sitting in school learning stuff you KNOW you won't use in the future for your line of work. But once you get to college, you're immediately qualified to learn whatever you want because you spent four years sitting in classes you didn't need, and you know you didn't need? "Hi, I'm applying to this college. Here's how I did in high school. None of it matters since a lot of it doesn't have to do with what I'm going to study. Do I qualify?" Great, right? Wouldn't it be better if there was a wide range of possibilities for students like this to lay out their own schedule, rather than following the one the school system decided was right for them? I know there are plenty of options, but the diversity of classes once you get to college is so much better, you wonder why you didn't get that in high school, when you probably could have in one way or another if you had the choice.

I never gave my solution for these problems. Now, my solution follows.

I may not have showed how angry I was about some of these different issues. You may not even see it as discrimination, but rather as setting an age limit. Fine, but I see it as discrimination. My solution is this: Rather than saying EVERY person over one age is ready to do something and EVERY person under it is not, why not just say, "let's find out if you're ready" and set up a test/exam or proper way to find out? That way, you don't discriminate based on anything but whether or not that person truly would be ready to go on the given topic.

If you can pass a driving test perfectly, answer every question, and then prove you know what you're doing on the road at age fourteen, why deprive this kid of a license? What if he's got to go to his mom's house every week and his dad's on the weekend and nobody likes bringing them to either location because of family issues? What if he has a lot of sporting events he needs to attend, and he can't make it because nobody else can transport him there, even if it's nobody's fault?

Why deprive some sixteen-year old who knows more about the current state of politics and who they feel is in the right place to lead the country than some kids in college of the right to vote?

Why keep someone out of a job when they might legitimately need the money for something, whatever it may be?


© Copyright 2017 Matt Bassette. All rights reserved.

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