Please Cease Utilizing These Frequent Ageist Phrases


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Ageism is the “final acceptable bias,” at the least according to the AARP. Whereas age-based prejudice is extra typically directed at older employees, it does go each methods: “Each older and youthful adults are sometimes deprived within the office and entry to specialised coaching and schooling decline considerably with age,” says the World Health Organization. Within the office particularly, a 2019 study confirmed that one out of each 5 American employees age 40 and older mentioned they’ve confronted age discrimination.

However ageism isn’t at all times apparent discrimination. Generally it’s a small remark that subtly perpetuates the concept that “outdated” is code for “dangerous.” Take Kevin Hart’s now meme-ified reaction to Don Cheadle’s age. Even probably the most well-intentioned feedback can turn into ageist microaggressions. Beneath are frequent phrases that usually do extra hurt than good in the case of addressing somebody’s age.

“You don’t look [insert age here]!”

Honorable point out: 50 is the brand new 25! Though you most likely supposed this as a praise, typically the implication right here is that no matter age they really are is “dangerous” for some motive. On this occasion, you would possibly wish to rethink whether or not you even must touch upon the individual’s age in any respect.
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“They’re younger at coronary heart.”

From the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities:

Whereas most likely supposed to convey a constructive connotation or framed as a praise to a different, these statements ring undertones of ‘younger is sweet, ‘older is dangerous.’ We problem you to assume by what it’s you actually imply.
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Are you referencing a excessive degree of vitality? Agility? Humorousness or playfulness? …Say these phrases as a substitute of generalizing perceived traits of any technology.

In different phrases, attempt to establish the praise you imply by “younger.” This fashion, you keep away from the implication that being “outdated” is antithetical to who they’re.


Until you’re speaking about throwing spices on a rooster, “seasoned” comes throughout as a delicate manner of dismissing somebody as “outdated.” Like with the “younger at coronary heart” recommendation about, attempt to articulate what you actually imply–whether or not that which means is constructive, e.g. “skilled,” or damaging, e.g. “out-of-touch.”

“OK, boomer.”

I’ll admit it. My largest subject with this phrase is that it’s hack comedy at this level. On a extra critical degree, “OK boomer” has the identical drawback as characterizing all millennials as “entitled.” It’s lazy and unfair to dismiss somebody primarily based solely on generational stereotypes.

“You possibly can’t train an outdated canine new methods.
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This one isn’t even true in the canine world. You would possibly say this one casually, with out actually which means something by it. Nonetheless, the sentiment right here could cause real economic harm when older persons are principally seen as unteachable and thus unhirable.

“Can I enable you, younger girl?”

Why are you calling my grandmother a younger girl? That is bizarre and assumes that younger is a praise, whereas actuality should be an insult. Hey, maybe you don’t must reference her age in any respect.

“Younger man,” “Lady,” “Kiddo”

Until somebody is actually a toddler, please chorus from these patronizing (and creepy!) phrases.

“You most likely gained’t wish to use this new platform…” / When you’ve got bother studying the know-how…”

Even in case you’re making an attempt to be accommodating for older coworkers or members of the family, it’s condescending to imagine that they’ll reject new applied sciences. Within the office, this might shut them off from alternatives out there to the remainder of your group. If somebody is immune to a brand new platform, handle it on a person foundation, relatively than letting it turn into a part of an age-based stereotype.

As a rule of thumb, take into consideration whether or not your feedback reinforce the concept that age is the end-all-be-all for the way somebody thinks, acts, and provides worth. When doubtful, you most likely don’t want to deal with somebody’s age in any respect.

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