Getting Old and Getting Old: Accidental Degradation and How to Avoid it

Jeffrey, H.J. / Published 2018 / Presentation

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Presenter H. Joel Jeffrey, Ph.D.
Date October 14, 2018
Abstract: Ageism and, more generally, treating people differently purely on the basis of their age, are widely recognized. As with racism, this carries the danger that people come to see themselves as less –in this case, unable, both physically and mentally an outcome of the principle articulated by Tony Putman: people become as they are treated as being. This talk addresses one aspect of this issue, a linguistic one: the very language used to talk about people older than a certain age is both a simple description and a status assignment; but there are no “markers” for status assignments in English, and so it is very easy to come to see one's self as aged, infirm, and unable without intending to an unintentional self-status assignment. The goal of this presentation is to clarify this phenomenon and how to avoid accidental degradation.
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