My personal experiences with bias, prejudice & oppression

What memory do you have of an incident when you experienced bias, prejudice, and/or oppression, or witnessed someone else as the target of bias, prejudice, and/or oppression? Keep in mind that one can encounter such incidents in real contexts, including online environments, as well as in fictional ones, such as movies, books, television shows, and the like.

Until recently I had really thought that my parents' neighbors were just being silly but I now recognize their behavior as a form of discrimination, more specifically ageism.  My parents live on a cul de sac and most of the families there do not have young children, we've all grown up and moved out.  Right across the street from their cul de sac used to be a empty field but a few summers ago someone bought the land and built several houses there.  Many of the families have children, some households have as many as six children, and they enjoy playing outside.  Most of the children play basketball at the house on the corner and the family that lives there has no problem with it.  The problem is right next door to them, a woman and her two adult daughters.  Whenever they see the children outside playing they yell at them, they sit outside and try to intimidate them and they have actually cussed at them.  Sadly, we've had to call police on them on more than one occasion.  As I said at first I just thought they were bad neighbors but then I thought back to the other times I've talked with them or seen them outside, they are pleasant and friendly.  This made me wonder, what was the difference?  

In what way(s) did the specific bias, prejudice and/or oppression in that incident diminish equity?

My cousins and godsons have been on the receiving end of this families' bias on more than one occasion and from their own mouths they don't understand what's going on.  These children are being diminished because they are being unfairly singled out by the family.  Even though they are not misbehaving or bothering anyone, they are being mistreated and devalued as people because of their age.  They are also being put into a position where they cannot defend themselves against the adults.

What feelings did this incident bring up for you?
As someone who has dedicated their lives to working for and teaching children I am upset that someone would treat children the way that they do.  I am also sad for the children because like any other form of prejudice it is unwarranted.

What and/or who would have to change in order to turn this incident into an opportunity for greater equity?
I am not sure what needs to change in this situation.  I have personally went to talk to them as a result of the children telling us they are being cussed at and that adults are getting in their face.  Other neighbors have approached them as well, we've called police on them and we've tried ignoring them.  I wish I had an answer for this but ageism, especially in regards to youth just does not seem like a topic that is taken seriously.  In all honesty I would like to know why the family feels and behaves the way that they do but at the same time, it's easier to ignore them. 

1 comment:

  1. This looks to me like reverse ageism as we usually think of ageism being on the end of the abuse. This is sad as it also teaches the youth to not respect their elders, especially older women. That is not a concept we want our children to develop. Sorry this is happening, assure the young people that not all older women act like that.