Ageism: but not as we know it.

It annoys and irritates me when some senior citizens say that young people in today’s society don’t care about current affairs. That we don’t know who the Prime Minister is. That we don’t know when the next election is occurring. This came to my attention when recently at my place of work, an older regular gentleman came in for his Sunday roast and started going off on one. When I asked the gentlemen – we’ll call him Mr Smith – if he’d like any mint sauce with his dinner, I heard him say under his breath- “if only these youngsters cared about what’s going on around them”. Now I’m not too sure who he was saying this to, or if he was even considering if he wanted mint sauce or not, but it did get me thinking.

Young people are ignorant

Some young people don’t show an interest in current affairs. Or know who the Prime Minister is. Or when the next general election is occurring. But this doesn’t mean we’re all the same. Take the recent occurrence of the Sky News “Stand Up Be Counted” Q&A session with young people from across the UK and the leaders of the main parties.

This event wouldn’t of even taken place if what Mr Smith was muttering, was true. The fact that some OAPs generalise young people with the same lack of interest, the same stupidity and low level of maturity, seems to create a sense that all youths are the same. That all young people know absolutely nothing about what’s going on around them. Grouping all of us under the same stereotype suggests that we all believe in the same things and act the same way.

We are individuals with our own opinions and ways of dealing with this world. We are a new generation. We have our own dreams and goals for our journey that’s only just starting out. The generation before yours may well have looked down on you and treated you as a whole, stating that you don’t care- that doesn’t mean that it’s ok or your turn to do the same.

Should we consider though, that perhaps the older generation hold these opinions due to the media’s portrayal of the young? The endless news articles on reckless crime and deviance. Adverts showing new and baffling technology, that anyone aged 35+ struggles to get to grips with. Numerous websites that aim to create a ‘social space’, but if you can’t remember your password, you’re locked out. Surely this causes the older generation to create a resentment to the young? The fact that society has almost forced us apart isn’t going to help anyone who might want to connect to someone outside of their generation.

Not interested in politics

Ok, I admit it, some people aren’t interested and yes i agree it’s frustrating that some kids don’t know that Gordon Brown is no longer in charge. But it’s a general thing that some people just aren’t interested in politics, manifestos or the economy. Not specifically some ‘young people’ but just some people.

We must all remember that there are some young people, middle aged people, white people, Asian people, older people that do care about politics. Some don’t, some do. But the younger ones that do know what’s going on around them, don’t want to be put in the same boat as the ones who don’t really care.

So next time Mr Smith when you see me in  my place of work and you look me up and down and ask me if i know who the Prime Minster is, please don’t assume that i have no knowledge of what’s going on in the world and please don’t look so shocked when i inform you that in fact Mr Cameron is in charge and that i rather like him and agree with the majority of his polices bar some of his EU ones. Instead, treat me like an equal.

I know it’s hard, because for some reason in this country we let age get in the way.

We are scared of talking about serious topics with people outside of our own generation.

But i feel that the 50 years between us gives more cause for interesting conversation than it does ignorance and assumption.

Don’t you?