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Old Face a Prejudice Unlike Any Other

July 10, 1994

Having spent the last year researching age discrimination for my doctoral studies in organizational psychology, I was appalled to read the quote from a company source reading in part, " . . . it's easier to make a change than to teach an old dog new tricks" ("Simon & Schuster Publishing Chief Fired by Viacom," June 5).

As supported by my studies, it would appear that despite the move toward acceptance of the multicultural salad bowl metaphor to replace the 1906 term melting pot, our society continues to hold prejudicial views toward older workers and has no hesitation about expressing them.

Even the chronological age of the source unfortunately does not seem to make a difference in who holds ageist ideology. Older people are just as likely to individually differentiate themselves as being different from the negative views they hold of the subgroup as a whole.

For some reason, it continues to be socially acceptable to make derogatory comments or jokes about older people, whereas it is not considered politically correct to make such statements about race- or gender-related issues. Just visit your local card shop for evidence of this. Age is perhaps the only attribute of which former perpetrators of discrimination will eventually become victims--assuming they live long enough.

JOAN B. HOCH

Canyon Country

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