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Age-ist, Reasons why age is being looked down upon more and more

When election day was rearing around the corner, I found myself in a hole. Being my age, I couldn't have an opinion.
It may just look like an angry rant to you, but this is something that is making me sick. I have no opinion until I am 18. The people that need an education can't vote to have an education because we are to young. How is my life decided from someone else with out my consent. I am 15 and am waiting until the government allows me to have a voice.

In 2002-2003 my public school was in a chrisis. We had no funding, no supplies, and poor teachers. Because the schools were so horrible, my parents had to transfer me to a private school. Being in our condition we cannot afford that. We have to pay for our education now. The worst part about it is, we the students that endure all of this can't speak up. People my age are the ones that are the most effected by Bush's presidency. I'm tired of having my rights taken away from me. Why can't I have a voice? Why can't I vote?

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Oops sorry 26.Jan.2005 22:31


Kinda screwed up on the title. It should be Age-ist, My rights are taken away from me... or something like that. I just sounded out the title and it sounds like it is totally against everything I wrote in this article. It sounded differen't at the time. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Actually... 26.Jan.2005 22:42

old guy

Actually, they don't give you a voice after you turn 18, either.

ryan harvey oncd said... 26.Jan.2005 22:59

some kid

You're vote is just a blinder

the last 2 centuries are your reminder

it's never given anything back to you

Civil Rights, 40-Hr Work Week, Sufferage of many forms...all won in the streets, not in a ballot.

If you really think the voting age should be lower ... 26.Jan.2005 23:24


... or that there shouldn't be an age limitation at all (that's my preference; I think screening and registration should be such that only young people who really want to vote on their own - not by orders of their parents - would be likely to register and vote. But anyone who's a resident and is truly interested should be able to participate in elections. [I wouldn't entrust such a system to a mail-in election.]) ... then you'll have to work for it "in the streets".

It probably won't happen before you reach 18, but as Some Kid above says, all rights are won in the streets.

I don't necessarily agree with Some Kid that the ballot is worthless, but I do agree that - despite the oxymoronic nature of it in a supposedly "democratic" system - "rights" don't get recognized until those who have been denied them demand them.

We would if we could 27.Jan.2005 00:19


Sure taking the streets sounds like a good idea but it wont get us very far. We are even limited on the streets. We can't defend our legal rights to the police. We are automatically just arrested, we are not given our miranda rights we are treated like the police are just arresting us because of our youth. Even though I have told my story about getting arrested about a billion times I'm going to have to explain it again. I was arrested for standing on a curb on Nov. 3. The police man did not read me my miranda rights, did not tell me that I was being arrested, gave me some shit about how I shouldn't care about Bush because I'm to young, was not allowed a phone call, was not even notified that I was "arrested" they just slapped some handcuffs on me and started intimidating me. To this day I still have not been notified about a court date, and had some severe injuries from my handcuffs which were not the plastic ones they were the metal ones. I even asked them to loosen it many times but they didn't. The following days i could not clench my hand into a fist nor could I bend it. The police won't allow us to speak our minds. I even see in these kind of situations I am underminded when I say I'm fifteen because people don't think I know anything. Because of my age I cannot become involved in any sort of political thing besides volunteering for them. And last but not least I cannot vote either. So now how the hell am I supposed to be heard. I can't even raise this issue to anyone with political power because of my age, so what the hell am I supposed to do. Hell, we don't even have a word for people who are bi-ist against age. That's how bad it is. Any suggestions

pshaw 27.Jan.2005 00:31

some kid

meh...vote if you want. I don't care. I'm just saying, there are bigger issues. Many bigger issues. Voting scares me a bit because people think they're politically active because they vote. So they just stop, they've done enough. Maybe they've even sent money to their favorite oraganization. Fucking liberals. Anyhoo...


...getting arrested is more of a victory to me than to you. Henry David Thourou said in Walden "Any person who lives in a free society in which the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law." I've been arrested too, and it makes me happy. I've done what I can to fight injustice, and when I get out I'll do more. I voted this year, against my better judgement...lotta fuckin good it did. Lotta good.

It works both ways. 27.Jan.2005 06:13


The activist community, especially the anarchist community, discriminates against middle aged people. We get photographed by so called "cop watch" activists at demonstrations for no other reason than being middle aged. So called "anarchists" such as Flint Jones of Baltimore IMC cite our age as a reason why "we can't possibly be anarchists."

discrimination a shame 27.Jan.2005 11:47


It's a shame some anarchists don't think the middle aged can be anarchists. I'm 32 and sometimes I feel mistrusted because of it. The shame in assuming all elders are cops or just not to be trusted is that you lose the advantage of their wisdom and experience. I've learned quite a bit by talking with some of the older people at protests. It's especially fun to talk with people who remember the sixties. I think the movement needs to be all inclusive to survive. Even the teenagers among us have a fresh perspective that would be a shame to lose. I think it's great that this young guy is posting. Start 'em out early, I say!

Ben, you will spend most of your life after 18... 27.Jan.2005 17:51

Pravda or Consequences

so resolve yourself to not only voting and registering others to vote (you can assist voter registration before 18), but consider the advice of the other writers of this forum.

Please understand that the President of the U.S. is one of the most stupid people on the planet. They are stupid because they are vain and haven't got a clue how society ought to operate.

Please understand that most people hate their jobs and prefer TV to making a difference because TV offers gratification much sooner than making a difference. We cannot make the world a better place if we maintain the old one.

Finally, promise yourself that you will not be selfish with love. Everyone has something to share.

Let 'em collapse 27.Jan.2005 18:02

Jennifer F

I believe the school system must meltdown
COMPLETELY before it can be rebuilt anew. The band-aid approaches
to fixing the school system just prolongs the agony. I will never
vote for any additional money for schools until they are ALL audited
and the wastes are exposed to the public.

ben stay strong 27.Jan.2005 19:49

real old fart

My housemate said he was considered an asset at protests and clinic guarding because he was underage and the cops wouldn't fuck with him as bad as the over-18's. Check out the laws-maybe you're more valuable than you think as an activist

We are not an example we are the future 27.Jan.2005 20:37


I don't care if you guys hate how the government makes public schools. But I do care when you try to make us an example to the government on how to run the country. We need support. Whether it be friend or foe. Right now, from what I see from two comments up, our friends aren't supporting us either. We are your future. We are the ones that are going to have to get all of us out of this economic crisis. You want Bush's disaster to stay with us forever? If the public schools colapse the world collapses. We will be seperated into the private school kids and the poor, screwing the middle and lower class. Please, we need the money.

To who ever was talking about joining anarchists. Yah, I was an anarchist for a while a couple of years ago. When I got older, I understood what anarchism really actually means. Waging war with everyone isn't what I want to do. As I said earlier, I liked our old public schools when we were actually funded by the government. Without the government a lot of good things wouldn't be here. Sure, there is a whole lot of bad things that wouldn't be here to but that doesnt make me want to destroy the government. It makes me want to change the government. Back to your response, there is 30 year old anarchists. Hell, I even saw one on J20. It's not some sort of clique kind of thing here its an idea. So even you can join up with them.

... 28.Jan.2005 05:34


If it hadn't been for young people making trouble in the late '60s the voting age would still be 21. The establishment might just ignore it if lots of teenagers were making a big stink about not being able to vote ... but it might not. It certainly hasn't been tried lately. Give it a shot.

But this is definitely not something older people can do for you. Maybe we could help a little, but you guys have to take the lead. No demographic ever got the vote without making a big stink about it, and the powers that be are always trying to whittle the edges away and restore some previous status quo.

Advice To Ben 29.Jan.2005 11:50


Hi Ben,

Needless to say, many people in your position felt the same way in the 60's as the Vietnam War continued to escalate, as did the human cost, and people being drafted. Well, most people... Bush got out of it, so did Cheney, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, etc., but that's neither here nor there.

School is important and the reading, writing, mathematical skills you develope are important, but understand that government schooling is a form of brainwashing to begin with. Not entirely, but in some respects it definitely is. You will learn the official version of history, which is important to understanding the true history, but it's only part of the reality. You will learn enough about banking and politics to make you a cog in the system, but not what you really need to understand wealth and power in society. In essense, public school trains you to function at subsistance wages; in other words, make you a price taker in the labor market.

The most effective thing you can do for yourself is understand logic and critical thinking. You will need those skills find your way through all the propaganda and disinformation that is thrown at you in life. Work on your core skills to make sure you can get to a good university, where you will be in a dynamic environment of diverse opinion that will challenge and hone your critical thinking skills. Eventually the facade of the government and society we live in will become transparent to you and, in the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, you will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. You will be able to work the system to your advantage while at the same time doing more to change it for the better than you can by simply going to the polls or joining some anarchy group.

The other side of the coin 29.Jan.2005 13:23


That is very good advice from Anarchy-nonymous. Read read read! Think on your own. Education is important without a doubt, but you do not learn everything you will need in school. Yes the vote is important, but the voice and the words matter more than I can tell you. Speak out whenever you can. Do not write off the 'old guys' for many of them are speaking up and voting in ways that will eventually benefit you. Results often are a long time in coming. I am way way older than you and am often overlooked as a person without power, but though I am old and cannot run fast anymore, I can still speak out, stand up and make noise. You must do the same.

don't get discourages 29.Jan.2005 13:37


Don't get discouraged by people telling you that voting doesn't matter. part of the reason oregon school aren't getting funding is because selfish people in this state don't want to pay taxes. People try to raise a levy and even if it doesn't fail, there is an anti-levy ballot the next year. people can't stand to part with money. YES the system is probably inadequate and money is wasted, but like you said, things need to happen NOW, not when you're 23 and feeling apathetic towards schools. right? So as great as it would be to tear down the system, there are people who are disenfranchised and trampled on in schools right now. the short term is to raise more money. that is the only way to get public schools to the point of working.

Keepin yr eye on the ball... 29.Jan.2005 14:41


Some kid:

"...getting arrested is more of a victory to me than to you. Henry David Thourou said in Walden "Any person who lives in a free society in which the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law." I've been arrested too, and it makes me happy."

Getting arrested means nothing unless you achieve something through the arrest.

Um... 29.Jan.2005 15:47


Ok, as far as the voting age, I agree that many folks under 18 would be capable of and should be allowed to vote. And since you are willing to complain about the voting age, you have a responsibility to actually DO something about it. Whether that is through the system or outside of it is your choice. Quit making a big stink if you're not going to get off your ass and do something.

As far as you 'having' to be switched to a private school, you are damn lucky. While you are busy educating yourself about mathematics and economics, you should read the part in your textbook about privelege and patriarchy. (Hint- this info won't actually be in a school textbook) You sound to me like a young, white, male. Get over yourself. At least you, or actually, your parents, can afford to send you to a private school. Most kids, especially in the inner city areas, aren't able to switch schools when the brainwashing isn't as effective any more.

If you are responsible and intelligent enought to vote, (HA!!! Intelligent voting in the US...?) than you should be capable of educating yourself, at least some. Be thankful that the corporate school system is losing it's funding. Maybe in the meantime you can learn something useful, learn skills that will actually help you to be able to survive(ie. gathering water, firewood, food, making shelter or fire, etc.).

And you "used to be" an anarchist, eh? I question whether you really understood what 'anarchy' is? I don't even know what it is exactly, and I've claimed that (albeit, useless) title for many a year. Anarchy isn't about taking sides, it's about taking back what you want and need to survive as a happy, healthy, free humyn being. Which sounds like something you are looking for, maybe?
Kids can make a change, but no cop, teacher, or legislature will do it for you.
Kids can make a change, but no cop, teacher, or legislature will do it for you.

The other side of age-ism 29.Jan.2005 16:23


A. Someone quoted me above there! That's pretty neat.
B. Don't forget that there's another side of age-ism where young people like myself constantly leave-out and distrust older folks in the movement. I have seen this many times and especially on the DNC2RNC march it was a big deal. We as young people who recognize the negative force of ageism should make sure we investigate our own oppression in this matter. Word.

Solidarity from the east!

You WILL Exact Change 29.Jan.2005 17:03

I promise!

While I didn't attend a school in complete crisis, they were only *talking* about cutting arts, I remember feeling like my well-honed opinion didn't matter simply because of my age in numbers. It's an unfortunate fact that while the voting age youth refuses to use thier own voice, yours is stifled. At one point I asked my mom to register -for the first time ever- so that I could take her vote. She doesn't think it's important to do it herself, but she doesn't think it's worthless enough to let me do it-- whatever. I'm just not so sure there are enough kids who even think about voting to revolutionize the process these days. But you have to have friends, right?

It must be extremely frustrating to "pound the pavement" as it were, as you are doing now, but many of us are propelled to do more than just the simple act of voting. I'm sorry this means nothing to you now, schools will probably get worse by the time you are of age, but you will be able to vote for better schools. Use this experience as a springboard to make schools better. I'm on your side, I want to get taxed so that we can teach some of the ignorance out of society, and every other decent person I know feels the same. Tell other people about the depth of the tradeoff, now and after you've been voting for a decade or two.

another side of "ageism" 29.Jan.2005 21:48

just aother "old" guy

yea, ageism is a drag. my experience of it is from the other side. i turned 50 a month ago and now a couple of my "friends" don't want to talk to me any more. one says he didn't know i was so "old"! it's interesting the treatment you get when people realize your actual age. i don't look 50 years old so people don't treat me like i'm old. but when i tell somone my actual age, they tend to treat me VERY differently. funny how folks react to you once they've put you in their "age" box isn't it?

ageism 29.Jan.2005 21:55

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

write letters , start petitions, ask people why isn't the education system as good as what they had back in the twentys ( pbs had an excellant show about the ed sys then) definatly speak out. i've wondered about the same since i was about sixteen, i think full rights and responsabilitys should start at military age ( 17 for your parents to sign you in) if you have the "priviledge" to die for your country you should be able to do everything else!!! oh yea i'm 56 now.

1306 john evansville, ind. 47724

Finding answers 29.Jan.2005 23:45



I neither hate public schools nor want to make constant war. Actually im kind of puzzled where you get those ideas from? To me anarchism is simply building the institutions or organizations that you would like to create using the resources of your community to do it. Its about everyone participating in what affects their lifes.

Power. Your focusing in all your articles about power and who does and doesnt have power in our society. I think that its accurate when you describe yourself with very little power in our society; you cant vote, most folks dont respect your opinions, etc. etc. But when folks come together and build their power you can begin to see stuff happen, look at any of the major movements in history that have changed things.

I, like you, have experianced the cuts of pps. Actually, the entire time i went to pps every year we had budget cuts. We could try to lobby people to vote for our issues, which they might or might not care about or we could all get together as students/youth to make demands of the administration or government.

I figure it like this. Depend on peoples conscious to help you. Or make power yourselfs and get what you need.

Do what you feel like you need to do, but the only lasting power is not politicians because they change constantly but the power of students to organize and demand what they need.

Keep it up. Toodles,

hey marko 30.Jan.2005 03:49

felix el gato

e-mail neal

ben if your aj's old friend 30.Jan.2005 03:59

felix el gato

you should e-mail neal too

Ageism and activism 30.Jan.2005 10:20


While I understand the frustration of the original poster, I have to agree with the people who have pointed out how much more pervasive and difficult the other side of ageism is. Ben will be over 18 soon enough, but those over 40 will never be younger again. I'm not even 40 yet, and I fear ever telling anyone in the activist community my real age, because those under 30 inevitably treat me differently when I do. I get sideways barbs even from people who consider themselves my friends: people in their 20s who don't realise how close they are to being in their 30s. They say things to me to imply that I don't know as much or am not as cool because, you know, well I'm like...older. It seems snide and hurtful, and the only way I get past it is to realize they will be my age soon enough and will eat those words. It comes down to whether we want a real community or merely a "scene." I, for one, am sick of the scene.

Don't Trust anyone over 30 30.Jan.2005 11:02

carlo tresca's lost cousin walter nef

Whenever I am in a hip part of town, I always ask for the senior discount; after all, being over thirty, I get a taste of what it must be like when society abandons their real senior citizens. Being an activist thoughout my 20s and learning hard lessons through expereince and mistakes makes for some amount of wisdom. More and more, I am pushed aside by younger folks with good energy, but are not interested in leaning tactics from the seasoned people, and as a result the wheel gets reinvented, and the same mistakes get made. On the same token, there is the 50+ crowd out of the New Left that still cling onto the way things used to be (to the point of pedantism in many cases), and a person in their 30s is still just a punk. In a few years, I will be part of a protected class of people based upon age discrimination yet the movements in many ways still practices that kind of thing.

For the folks who are 18 or younger, keep on keepin' on. At the same time, listen to what others who have been around have to say. Be careful not to undo gains won by your predecessors though action without information. As forvoting, well, I never got to vote on either of the Iraq wars, NAFTA, the Patriot Act, or Clinton's reforms. I only got to choose between two people who would vote for all of these things.

taxation without representation 31.Jan.2005 07:26


What I really disagree with is taxes. If you are under 18 and working part time, money is STILL taken out of your paycheck. Hmmm, people under 18 don't get to vote, so why doesn't somebody do something about it? I just want to bitch about it.

Ageism's real face 31.Jan.2005 09:40

Anarchist Woman

I'm not trying to make light of your concerns, Ben, but we live in a culture that purposefully glorifies youth. It's a throw-away culture where youth is commodified and the wisdom gained from age is dismissed. I've seen many anarchists and other radicals buy into this philosophy, without even realizing they're being duped by consumer-oriented sales tactics. The reason youth is valued in this culture is simply that the young tend to have more disposable income, since they often have money but often do not have financial obligations. Therefore, they are an attractive and lucrative market -- it's called "disposable income," and it's played to in the media endlessly. Movies, commercials and all the other voices of our culture emanating from commercial interests target, and therefore glorify, the young and make the old invisible so that many people blindly buy into this manufactured worldview.

Ageism against older people is a huge problem in this society. While I had concerns like yours not long ago, I have since realized that ageism against older people is a much bigger problem. As someone said above, you will soon be over 18, but you will not be able to go back in time. Therefore, ageism against the young is a temporary thing, made more tolerable by all the many advantages of youth offered by our culture. Ageism against the old, on the other hand, is a permanent thing. And there are few benefits to that.

Some of the most rockin' activists I know are middle-aged or older women. And yet they are often excluded and usually ignored or patronized by younger activists. It SUCKS, it's clueless, and it terrifies me because I'm afraid when I get to be their age, maybe I will be ignored and excluded and dissed as they are. This is really an important thing for us to consider as a community, and I will no longer tolerate ageist garbage and condescending attitudes toward older people. I urge everyone else to make the same decision.

There is a Movement Moving 31.Jan.2005 11:37


Check out www.youthrights.org (National Youth Rights Association) and www.asfar.org (Americans for a Society Free From Age Restrictions).

I've always wondered why Portland doesn't have a chapter of one or both of those groups. But, I understand that various Portland based student groups have been effective here already. But, their focus has not been on youth rights per se.

Youth Rights is, if the most important, one of the most important battles that is raging.

Closing Comment 31.Jan.2005 22:58


After having a very heartfelt conversation with many of people, I have reached a conclusion. There is a comment two comments up from mine that puts people of certain age in a certain category. It could be bad, it could be good, it doesn't matter it is still ageism. I agree with all of you that elders have it bad too. I just had a discussion at the film fest with a Ellen or as known as Z on indymedia. She said that there is a narrow age limit on when you have all your rights and are not discriminated against. It just so happened we were both on the discriminatory opposite sides. But why does there have to be differen't sides. Elders are wise, and the youth are the ones being heavily effected. Can't law and society profit us all the same.

I do, however, disagree with some propositions made about elders and protesting. They have the same rights that people of 20, 30, 40 and even one hundred years of age. When I say rights I mean what the law allows us to have. When you are under 18 you automatically BY LAW, can't vote, can't contact anyone from jail, have a 12 o'clock curfew (NO MATTER WHAT EVENT), have to have a parent take you out of jail, must have parents know about any illegal activity, or legal in some cases, you partake in, cannot be legally quoted, does not have as much witness rights as adults, and the list goes on. I know its tough on elders when it comes to protests. By reading this I will never question an elders capability to be at a protest (not that I ever did before). But that is social discimination elders are taking. The youth have legal discrimination against us. Under law, WE DO NOT HAVE A VOICE. I thought we were supposed to be treated equally, we have a voice to, dont we? We are not all, as said before, people with to much money that do not know where to spend it. I know how to spend my money and just because I am 15 doesnt mean that I am economically stupid. So does that not make me young. That is what ageism is.

For the comments a long ways up where it says that it's not the middle aged, college students responsibility, we as a youth should protest, so I should stop my ranting. That is a really great idea. I'm going to go gather up some of my friends and protest right now. Why didn't I think of that? Oooo ya wait a second, WE CAN'T. No offense to the commenter. But I am sick of this. Everyone thinks it's our responsibilty to do this, but the truth of the matter is the laws that most of the public supports are ageist. This makes it impossible for us to do anything about it. So I turn to the only thing I can legally do, write and angry rant. And sure I will become 18 in three years but what about the 15 year olds before me and the 15 year olds before them. When will they have a chance to speak. Never, by the way things are going. This is where it changes, right here, right now. Not when I'm 18 and am to busy dodging the draft to care about youth. It has to start someplace, it has to start sometime. What better place than here, what better time than now?

Mortality, The Great Leveler 14.Feb.2005 10:34


The great thing about life is that we learn things along the way, or maybe we don't. Well, there's always next time I guess. People who exercise ageism in their dealings with other people have motive for their actions. Often times, a person might discriminate against another person because they fear something, or they fear something personified by someone or something. The older I get, the more I tend to think that most of our lifes hopes and dreams and fears revolve around sex and death. Marketing people will tell you this. We are all people. Be kind to one-another.

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