Racism, sexism, homophobia, classism – Ism’s are dominating the news. Nothing stops purpose faster than oppression.

Ism: a belief (or system of beliefs) shared by a group that results in the oppression of another group.

I was listening to the Daily TED Talk podcast when Let’s end ageism came on. Ashton Applewhite immediately caught my attention when she pointed out that if we are fortunate to keep on living for a long time, we’ll get older and will face ageism in the United States and other youth-focused cultures around the world.

My hope is that by listening to this TED Talk on ageism, we can unpack racism, sexism, homophobia, and more.

Listen to Let’s end ageism  https://www.ted.com/talks/ashton_applewhite_let_s_end_ageism

The ManKind Project is committed to multicultural awareness and intercultural competency. Thanks to Visions, Inc we have some common language in MKP that we use to discuss and work on changing the impacts and origins of power, privilege, and difference.

I’ve taken a quote from Applewhite’s talk and inserted in words we use and shared their definitions below the quote. They are not the only possible definitions, but they are the ones we use based on the Visions Model.

“We know it’s not OK to allocate resources by race or by sex [ Oppression]. Why should it be OK to weigh the needs of the young[ Non-Target Group] against the old [ Target Group]? All prejudice relies on “othering”[ Ism] — seeing a group of people as other than ourselves: other race, other religion, other nationality. The strange thing about ageism: that other is us. Ageism feeds on denial — our reluctance to acknowledge that we are going to become that older person.[ Internalized Oppression]”

  • Multiculturalism: An ongoing process of learning to appreciate differences which is based on learning to appreciate one’s own culture, as well as that of another.
  • Oppression: A term used to describe how a disadvantaged group is kept down and given limited access to power, resources, and status by unjust use of force, authority, laws, privilege or societal (cultural) norms. Oppression is most commonly felt and expressed by a widespread, if unconscious, assumption that a certain group of people are inferior.
  • Internalized Oppression results from such constant and ubiquitous cultural oppression that the person begins to believe they are less than and begin to oppress themselves internally.
  • Target: Term applied to groups or individuals with statistically limited access to resources, status, and power due to their membership in an oppressed group.
  • Non-Target: Term applied to groups or individuals with statistically greater access to resources, status, and power based on their membership in a non-oppressed group.
  • Ism: a belief (or system of beliefs) shared by a group that results in the oppression of another group. Isms only work in one direction due to the power differential.
  • Unearned Privilege: the unearned, statistically greater access to resources, status and power afforded to people of advantaged or non-target groups. Many people also have Earned Privilege– these are privileges we earned through hard work getting educated, etc.

Applewhite says it best, when she asks, “Why add another -ism to the list when so many, racism, in particular, call out for action? Here’s the thing: we don’t have to choose. When we make the world a better place to grow old in, we make it a better place in which to be from somewhere else, to have a disability, to be queer, to be non-rich, to be non-white.”

Let’s live our purpose and make the world a better place for everyone.

Live a Bold and Authentic Life