Ageist Question .. (post open for discussion)
I’m taking a class in Business Communication and I had a test question that went a little something like this – I’m changing it up so as not to copy an actual question:
Though Jane is 80, she is still a ski enthusiast. She says there are still many slopes she hasn’t skied.
Okay, skiing might not be the best replacement activity so picture something more strenuous than walking, not as much impact on the joints as running nor as cardiovascular and there is nothing between your feet and the ground besides your socks and hiking shoes 🙂
So, I stated that her age is unnecessary information. I based my answer on information in my textbook which states that the only characteristic that older people have in common is their age (based on negative comments) and another section which encourages us to not stereotype a person or group even if we believe that the stereotype would be a compliment.
I got the answer wrong … grrrrrrrrr …
The reason given for my answer being wrong (by an automated test scoring system) is that “Though Jane is in her 80’s” is a compliment to her as an individual and not meant to be demeaning to older people in general.
Well, I’m disputing that…
I’m a bit of a stickler for word choice. In my opinion, the word though in the sentence makes Jane an exception to her age group, as though she has overcome her age and thereby might offend someone in that age group. I know at least my ancestors who would farm their fields and scour their woods for herbs until disability or death would be offended. We have people close to this age completing the iron man.
If “though Jane is 80”preceded the second sentence it would not make the statement offensive but I think that the way it stands makes it ageist even if that isn’t the intent of the writer .. errrrr.. or should I say test preparer.
So, what say the rest of you? Am I all riled up over nothing?