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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ageism and Intergenerational Relations

                     Ageism and Intergenerational Relations:
A Scenario

This story I found amazing.  Sharon Whistler, a woman of formidable reputation, who is known for her forthright comments at City Council meetings, has been unable to object when her son calls older people ‘coffin dodgers’.  Until this week, that is.  Perhaps because of the diary she was keeping for the RoAD project, she chose to finally confront him.
         ‘ I was in back of the car with Kevin, my grandson, and Alan  (her son) was driving, and he made reference to the driver in front who he thought was taking his time, saying to his son “Hey Archie, there’s another coffin dodger”, meaning an elderly driver.  And Archie goes titter, because he thinks his dad is quite good’
     Alan does this a lot, she says and before today Sharon has been loath to object because she feels he does it by way of affectionate teasing.
         “This is the same son that when I show signs of forgetfulness he as “ The shotguns ready mother. Watch it.”  He speaks in a grunt way anyway.  That’s the only way of expressing his feelings’
         I decided not to press the point. Sharon and Alan have developed a certain style of relating to one another, a kind of code for expressions of affection.  Instead, I said:  ‘ A poor joke.’  He makes a bit of a joke… He makes a poor joke out of things” she replied.  But on this day, the first day of her diary, Sharon decided to say something. She couldn’t object directly to his jokes about her, but did seriously say: I seriously disapprove of you passing on to your son at five, such unpleasant expressions. I object to one generation passing on that sort of expression to the next.  I take exceptions to that two that’  to which he replied:  “Shut up you silly old bat”.   Now I would have hit the ceiling if that happened to me. But she didn’t  “ It’s his way of speaking.  On the whole I tend to ignore it. Or perhaps I am a coward.  I would never dream of saying “Do you mind not calling me a silly old bat?”  I find it offensive.”    Because, I don’t actually.  Anyway, I like bats, they are very jolly animals’.   Then she added But it is age discrimination.”

What do you think?

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