Casual Argumentative Essay

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Ageism in the United States Many countries of the world honor their elderly citizens and hold them up as paragons of another time. Other countries look down upon the elderly and push them to the margins of society, sometimes quite literally. In the United States, elderly citizens as a group are very widely marginalized by the larger population. Many are put in retirement homes are pushed off to hospitals. Quite a few are forced out of their homes and made to exist on pension or Social Security and in some cases are not able to get by. Most senior citizens are negatively stereotyped as extremely weak and feeble. There are also positives stereotypes of the elderly which allow them to have more freedom of discourse and behavior which people younger than them are not afforded. There are many potential reasons behind this national tendency to possess biases against elderly people among them are the stereotypes the society has against this group, the supposed benefits that the elderly have over other members of society, and the psychological effect that the presence of elderly people has on the majority population.

According to stereotypes, all elderly people are bad drivers who smell badly, eat dinner well before sunset and watch Matlock reruns or listen to Paul Harvey on their radios. Senior citizens can also be given positive stereotypical characteristics. Either they are portrayed as weak and ineffective...

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Betty White is a particularly prevalent example of this type of elderly American. This is an example of what F.L. Cook describes as "positive ageism" (292). Cook goes on to state why either of these types of depictions is dangerous. "We continue to measure attitudes and media portrayals about 'the elderly' as if 'the elderly' or 'older persons' or 'people over 65' were homogeneous and represent some unitary construct" (292). Stereotypes are overgeneralizations attributed to a group and even the positive stereotypes can be harmful. In the case of the elderly, the perceptions of the group are either that they are feeble and should be put in nursing homes or that they are completely healthy and require no aid. Citizens who do not fit into one or the other of these molds would seem unnatural rather than honest. Although there may be elderly people who are feeble and there may be elderly people who are energetic, neither of these descriptions encompasses the completeness of a whole human being, let alone all members of this age group.
The United States is currently undergoing a period of economic crisis. At times like these, people look for a scapegoat, someone on whom all of their problems can be blamed. At present there is also an inclination to distrust the United States government and to demand financial equity for all citizens, as is exemplified by the current Occupy movement. When so many people are out of work and are financially unstable, there is a groundswell of citizens who advocate cuts…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

Cook, F.L. "Ageism: Rhetoric and Reality." The Gerontologist. 32(3): 292-293. 1992. Print.

Letvak, Susan. "Myths and Realities of Ageism and Nursing." AORN Journal. 2002. Print.

Palmore, Erdman Ballagh. Ageism: Negative and Positive. Springer. Print.


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