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Ageism Against Teenagers Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Ilavenil, India Jul 6, 2003
Human Rights   Opinions


On one of those particularly boring days at the library, I found myself in a pleasant conversation with my English teacher. Somewhere during the course of our discussion, I mentioned reading Osho (Bhagawan Rajneesh) – only to find my teacher emphatically disagree with me. Or rather, my choice of reading the works of the spiritual guru.

I was only in eleventh standard then, barely sixteen and I consumed Osho with a rare passion. "But, Osho is only for adults, grown-up people", my teacher stressed. "Madam, but I understand what he says. I love his views", I said. "You might understand him alright, but you are not old enough for reading Osho." she said. "But madam, I am only two years away from being legally an adult."

My english teacher was a very kind lady, and her gentleness was stressed by the soft cotton clothing she always wore to work. "No, no, no. You are not old enough to read any philosophy until you are twenty-eight." In her mild mannered voice, she informed me emphatically that during these teen years philosophy was off-limits. That winter, I learnt a lot of things. And somewhere among them, the fact that even near-perfect people didn't like to accept emotional maturity or scholarship in teenagers.

Two years later, the fact hasn't changed. Ageism -- discrimination on the basis of age, has chosen me as one of its bewildered targets. "Behave your age, girl" – guests coming home yell at me in an effort to keep me out of their conversation. (There are, of course, people who have a certain respect for attitude, skill and knowledge wherever they spot it – some kind of glorious exceptions). The rest are, however, not so easy to handle. They would prefer to call you "raw" and "unripe" as if they are in the fruit market. You know you are being subjected to age-based prejudice when some people talk condescendingly about the wisdom that comes with age. As if to show you your place, they believe the myth that every pensioner is an enlightened being. And sometimes, when your young, it is proper to shut up.

Most often, teenagers take ageism against young people for granted. Some dismiss it indifferently as a rite of passage. Those who are affected often believe that these incidents are one of a kind. They are not. While ageism against the old is being argued about in a major manner, there are few takers who really look into cases of discrimination against the teens. What everybody fails to realise is the harm that such a kind of labelling will cause to the next Generation X.



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Greta article!
M | Jul 11th, 2003
Excellent article. Yes, we a re forgotten in the midst of politics. Teenage years a re a learning curve, and no one is denying we will slip and fall, we need the foundation to build upon in adult life!

I totally agree!
Sofia M | Aug 11th, 2003
I often find myself dragged to boring "adult parties". They would be much more enjoyable if the adults around me didn't already have the expectation that I was too young to know anything to join in on an interesting conversation. So I never get to prove myself and instead end up sitting around doing nothing. I'm sure other people have had this same experience, and its pretty sad that young people, especially teens have to go around with this stigma of ignorance.

Fearless is the total presence of fear - with the courage to face it.
Satya Priya | Sep 1st, 2003
Life-energy is flowing from all directions but those whose navel centers are not open will be deprived of that flow.... So in educating children it is my essential understanding that one should never tell a child, even by mistake, that because it is dark outside he shouldn't go there. You do not know that you are harming his navel center forever. Wherever there is darkness, tell the children to go there certainly; tell them that the darkness is calling them. If the river is flooded, then do not tell the children not to enter it -- because you do not know that the child who dares to enter a flooded river is developing his navel center. The navel center of a child who does not enter the river becomes weak and feeble. If children want to climb mountains then let them. If children want to climb trees, let them. Wherever they can experience adventure and fearlessness, let them go there. Even if a few thousand children of a community die each year while climbing a mountain or entering a river or climbing a tree, it does not matter at all. Because if all the children of a community become filled with fear and become empty of fearlessness, then although the whole race may seem to be alive, it is actually dead. Osho

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