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Age Discrimination: Nobody Likes It to Happen to Them This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Age discrimination is a large issue in the United States today. All ages can be discriminated against, teenagers are considered shifty and untrustworthy, elderly considered incapable, youth considered boisterous. It affects not only the people who are discriminated against, but also those who lose valuable relationships by judging them based on age.

Picture this: a teenage boy, with a group of friends, walks laughing into a store. They scan the magazine section, walk by the candy, and then walk out without making any purchases. What is the first perception of this? It might be, and in many cases it is, that they stole something. Maybe the employee working behind the register will even go as far as to call the police on these boys, who didn’t steal anything, but were discriminated against simply because they were “unruly teenage boys”.

This happens every day, all over America. We don’t tell the youth very much, because they “won’t understand”, they’re “too young”. We gawk when elderly people run marathons, or even participate in simple recreational activities such as volleyball or swimming, because they are “old”, and “incapable”.

People who are discriminated against, no matter the reason, can be hurt by it. Age discrimination is the same as racial discrimination, or religious discrimination. They can be offended, because it isn’t something they can help. Like my example of the teenage boy above, he was simply having fun as he walked into the store. He had no intention of stealing anything or causing any trouble, he could even be an honor roll student and an athlete, and he was still discriminated against for being a teenager.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should explain to your three year old sister about your sexual education class, or sign your great uncle up for a marathon, but give them a little credit. They are capable of doing things we are, and sometimes more. So next time you tell your little brother/sister/cousin that they’re “too young to understand” or assume that your grandmother is “too old” to participate in athletic activities, listen to yourself. I know you are offended by being judged as a teenager, so how do you think they feel? Remember, it all hurts. Everyone deserves equal opportunities, regardless of age, race, or religion.



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This article has 22 comments. Post your own!

WOWritingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 28 at 1:20 pm:
I agree that there is age discrimination and I think it's terrible that people judge other people when they're perfectly innocent/capable, but if an adult is saying that you can't do something because of your young age, I think it can sometimes be dignified. There r some things you won't be able to do and if people judge you inappropriately, rather than getting all 'eggy' with them, you could ask them why they think that and maybe even prove them wrong. You don't have... (more »)
 
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Luke Skywalker said...
Mar. 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm:
This article is completely true. I see it everywhere, and it happens a lot to me, like when I went to best buy the other day, I was trying to get someone to help me find something, but even though I got there first, the guy helped like 3 adultsbefore me, just because of my age, and it drives me crazy, and I'm gladmore people are sick of it too. 
 
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Mia R. said...
Sept. 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm:
I love this so much.  I've experienced the exact problem with my stepmother.  Every time she sees me and we talk, she makes jokes about, since I'm a teenager, me doing drugs, sneaking out, etc.  It bothers me to no end, because I would never do any of that!  Anyway, I always wanted to write about it, or see someone else bring it up, but I could never find the words.  Thank you for this post.
 
themza wabantwana replied...
May 8 at 12:54 pm :
yes its that u felt disciminated but nothing we can do and its referd  as racial and it can happen to anyone....... i have seen peple dicriminate others and they dont expect u to answer back but they  
 
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steezcsb said...
Sept. 11, 2012 at 8:25 am:
tru everybody is judged based on their age
 
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desiraecat said...
Jul. 6, 2012 at 7:57 am:
I agree, I think once gays and imigrens are done being discriminated, It will be our time.
 
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zobean said...
Jun. 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm:
So true! There have been countless times when I have personally been held back by age discrimination, or witnessed it. It effects our society more then we realize. Thanks for opening up some eyes
 
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corazon.de.cielo said...
May 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm:
Wow! I didn't even realize this was an issue until I read your article and now I see it everwhere! Thanks for enlightening me!
 
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beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 10:14 am:
Yeah we forget about age discrimination sometimes too. I'm tired of my mom telling me I'm too young to understand something. Now granted she has more experience on me about some things, but come on, adults aren't experts at everything. It sucks to be stereotyped just because you're a teen, but that feeling reminds me of how others must feel in similar situations. 
 
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beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 10:14 am:
Yeah we forget about age discrimination sometimes too. I'm tired of my mom telling me I'm too young to understand something. Now granted she has more experience on me about some things, but come on, adults aren't experts at everything. It sucks to be stereotyped just because you're a teen, but that feeling reminds me of how others must feel in similar situations. 
 
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Kingdom_of_the_Forgotten said...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm:
I personally hate it when people assume I'm incapable/stupid because my grades might not be up to par. My issue is that I don't do the work because it's too simple or pointless, but if you were to look at just about any test I've taken you'd see the opposite of the previously stated assumption.
 
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Unknown0_0 said...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm:
This is so true, one of my friends was babysitting a little girl and she took her for a walk and she kept on getting all these dirty looks. So rude! No one cares to consider most teens opinions either, like they don't think we are smart enough to make good choices.
 
KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm :
Yeah, my friend got that as well. Nobody likes to be stereotyped, and even though adults sometimes thing they're so superior, they're not. Have you seen Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? Case in point.
 
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skysurferfan said...
Apr. 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm:
This is so true.  I can't count how many times I've been told (either directly or indirectly), "You're too young, you can't do this, you're not smart enough, of course all adults are smarter than you."  It makes me feel so put down.  Whenever someone does that, I instantly start looking for ways to prove to them that I am just as smart or smarter than any adult who wants to challenge me.
 
DRG330 replied...
Nov. 16, 2013 at 5:48 am :
I am 50.  I agree that young people are not taken seriously.  For example, when you turn 18, you are STILL not considered able to make adult decisions.  So many assumptions about young people.  Older people demand respect yet don't give respect to anyone under 21.  It's worse if you are under 18.  I think younger and older people can learn from each other.  A lot of hypocrasy in this country...
 
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LooknWonderThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm:
My grandma grew up in germany during world war II. Now she is 80 and speaks and reads 4 languages, has her masters in business, she still goes to college just to learn new things, just took a computer class and can take it apart and put one together better then me, rock climbs, swims 3-miles a day, jogs 1 mile a day, and her docter says she has the best red blood cell count he has ever seen. I would be horrified if anyone discrimated against her for her... (more »)
 
nathan's_gurl replied...
Dec. 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm :
dude ur g-ma sounds bad-ass
 
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T.R.Trevino said...
Feb. 12, 2011 at 8:05 pm:

A few weeks ago I was babysitting a two year old boy. I took him on a short walk to the park so he could playt on the plaground, which I knew was a hotspot for parents with little kids. So, I thought, he'll make a friend or two. He did, but the parents weren't real friendlyt with me. They glanced at me and whispered to another mom or dad. It was really rude. But the kid had a good time, so it was worth it.

 

Very good article, keep writing!

 
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Liz891 said...
Jun. 23, 2010 at 6:51 pm:
That is soo true. I was just at the mall a couple days ago with some friends. And we walked out of this store laughing our heads off because of something funny my friend did and this mall cop guy walked over to us and asked us "So, what'd you guys steal?" We started freaking out because all three of us are pretty good kids most of the time and we kept on saying "Nothing.", But the cop dude just wouldn't listen to us and it really annoyed me.
 
BrainsANDBeauty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 23, 2010 at 7:39 pm :
Yea, it's ridiculous.  It's like saying that (hypothetically) it's more likely for a kid with a red shirt to get in trouble to keep all kids wearing red shirts in lockdown.
 
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