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One Man's Experience Strikes Familiar Chord

February 11, 1990

I can empathize with the frustration Bruce Bean must feel. Not because I'm black, young, or particularly endangered. I'm white, far from young and do my level best to take responsibility for my own safety.

Then how can I possibly empathize? Because I will someday become part of a group of people who can closely relate to the frustrations and vulnerability of blacks. This group is the old of any color.

I've watched how the elderly, regardless of their station in life, have been the last to be waited on in stores, ignored in social conversations on subjects which they could have added so much, passed up on jobs, regardless of experience because of their age and mugged on an evening walk, because they were easy prey.

They've been stigmatized too because they could no longer hide the fact that they were old. No matter how educated, interesting and cultured, they've been lumped into a social category as useless "fat" to be discarded forever.

THELMA LASHER, Sherman Oaks

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