“Old white men.” The words separate are sometimes used pejoratively. All together they are considered by many “liberals” and many in the media as a crucial criticism. “Old” creates the most disdain. Rather than being considered an achievement implying future contribution, the years accumulated is considered negative.

Reactionaries often attack “political correctness” as a cover for the attitude and practice of racism, xenophobia, nativism, misogyny, wealth against poor, and disparagement of different gender and sexual practices – in their array of intolerant and discriminatory practices. But beyond all the despicable perspectives, with associated practices, glimmers a point.

Well out of population proportion, Blacks are now omnipresent in most ads, plays, and movies. Obligatory Blacks, generally cast as superior or educated, are featured in almost every dramatic or commercial presentation.. While it is true, there are many aspiring and unemployed actors available, to give preference on the basis on melanin amount should not be a functioning criterion. All actors should be allowed to play different parts. Forrest Whitaker portrays an excellent “Hughie”; Glenda Jackson a riveting “King Lear”, But the converse? – a white performer in “A Raison in the Sun”, Sam Rea as Lady Macbeth? (Shakespeare’s plays, historians say, were only performed by men). A few years back the bourgeoise identity advocate Spike Lee caused a furor to make sure that he, not a white man, direct “Malcolm X” failing to do justice to the charismatic, inspiring, and politically profound leader – who should have continued through old age. (Can you imagine Gershwin writing an opera, called ”Porgy and Bess” about a poor Black community (“Catfish Row”? Who would present it, if written now?)

This color preference, with a sprinkling of Asiatics, neglects Latinos and American Indians. (Indeed, the opposite is true when one watches an Atlanta Braves home game crowd do a publicly guided “tomahawk” while “nock- a-homer” displays an Indian character dancing around a wigwam.) This constant presence has created a backlash, to excite those with conscious or unconscious race resentment, while it satisfies only a select elite with a hope it improves markets or escapes criticism. It is hard to see it justified as “reparations” or “affirmative action” – concepts themselves subject to serious challenge.

The commendable Seth Meyers features a Black, a Puerto Rican Lesbian, and an Asian as writers on his late night show. The Black and Lesbian tell jokes labeled as “Jokes Seth Can Not Tell” with apparent lesbian and Black punchlines. On the other hand, he constantly jokes about “old men.” Most of the media stars including the talented Trevor Noah (bi-racial identifying as Black) do constantly: how they have lost their wits, are politically reactionary, look disgusting in a gym, particularly naked, lost their sexuality and attractiveness, can not do many tasks. Trevor Noah started his interview with Bernie Sanders “Are you too old?” to receive the appropriate reply: “Are you a bigot?” Let us note that his message seems to resonate with the younger voters in current polls putting him first in the current carnival of Democratic candidates.

The “old white men” accusation is frequently leveled at Congress with age complaints about Judges. (Where would the Supreme Court be without Ruth Bader Ginsberg in her mid 80s?). Seniority, in the Republican Party, is a problem endemic to the Rules. But, if we remove “white” from the triad, we all should celebrate the principled leadership from Elijah Cummings and John Lewis in the Congress. We should be delighted with Alexandra Ocasia Cortez for all she says and does, as well as thrilled that she replaced a 9 term Congressman, not because of his age, but because he was a retrograde party hack. An “old white man” has a long history to evaluate while he should have learned and grown politically, practically, and philosophically. Wisdom acquired constitutes a virtue.

Making “old white men” an acceptable criticism anywhere is wrong. Individuals are to be judged on their merits and potentialities. To accept “old white me” automatically as a negative cliche is discrimination wherever it occurs. Accepting the deplorable degradation and/or inequality practiced against “people of color”, women, and the poor, emphasizing the continued damage done to Native Americans, Latinos (now particularly Puerto Rican and Mexicans) and those with “different” sexual preferences requires real action rather than an elitist attack on another group.

The general social conditions are deplorable with poverty, racism, and exclusion of the oppressed from satisfying their needs and fulfilling their potentialities. Such a horror is not reduced by selected public featuring of anointed “people of color”, gender and age, but rather creates an anger for those so stigmatized and an excuse for those who are prejudiced. Occasional fawning obeisance to a “legend” exaggerates rather than minimizes a general “ageist” culture, particularly prominent in the media. Mandatory retirement, particularly in an era with pensions (promises for future payment to forgo present payments) and public benefits destroyed, creates poverty and wastes resources for the work place. The spectacle of the “elderly” serving at fast food places is not ennobling vision.

Nothing is inherently wrong for a human being to be “white”, “old”, or “man” The first, of course, has varied in definition (once including some Italians and Jews), the second an ascription dependent on societal longevity generalities, the third a biological classification. Together the words offer only an irrelevant characterization. Not redeemed by reverse preference, it perpetuates bigotry, pure and simple. Instead of a condemned, as an irrelevant, perspective, this pernicious prejudice is prevalent and reinforced by mass media for a “balance” based a fraudulent fad of “diversity”.

Old white men.” Honor the best of them. Respect all of them.

3 thoughts on “A CURRENT ACCEPTABLE PREJUDICE by Jonathan Weiss Esq.”

  1. New Evidence of Age Bias in Hiring, and a Push to Fight It
    Across the United States, mammoth corporations and family businesses share a complaint: a shortage of workers. As the unemployment rate has tunneled its way to a half-century low, employers insist they must scramble to lure applicants.

    The shadow of age bias in hiring, though, is long. Tens of thousands of workers say that even with the right qualifications for a job, they are repeatedly turned away because they are over 50, or even 40, and considered too old.

    The problem is getting more scrutiny after revelations that hundreds of employers shut out middle-aged and older Americans in their recruiting on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. Those disclosures are supercharging a wave of litigation.

    But as cases make their way to court, the legal road for proving age discrimination, always difficult, has only roughened. Recent decisions by federal appeals courts in Chicago and Atlanta have limited the reach of anti-discrimination protections and made it even harder for job applicants to win.
    It is complicating an already challenging juncture of life. Workers over 50 — about 54 million Americans — are now facing much more precarious financial circumstances, a legacy of the recession.

    More than half of workers over 50 lose longtime jobs before they are ready to retire, according to a recent analysis by the Urban Institute and ProPublica. Of those, nine out of 10 never recover their previous earning power. Some are able to find only piecemeal or gig work.

    “If you lose your job at an older age, it’s really hard to get a new one,” said Richard Johnson, an Urban Institute economist who worked on the analysis.

    ‘The Look in Their Eyes’
    Tom Adair dressed in a sharply pressed white shirt and a blue blazer with gold buttons for the weekly meeting for ExperiencePlus, a group for job seekers over 50 held in the small library at St. John the Baptist Church in Madison, Ala., near Huntsville.

    A former quality manager at Toyota and an Air Force consultant, Mr. Adair said he has had temporary consulting assignments over the last decade but has not been able to get a steady full-time job since the recession’s nadir in 2009.
    “I ace the phone interviews,” Mr. Adair said. “They say: ‘Your résumé speaks volumes. You could hit the ground running. It looks like you’re the perfect fit.’”

    “But you come in, and you’re D.O.A.,” said Mr. Adair, who is 71 and has neatly clipped gray hair. “You can see the look in their eyes.”

    “My wife says: ‘We need to get you a face-lift. We need to get your hair dyed,’” he said.

    Older workers are much more likely to wrestle with prolonged joblessness than younger ones, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, a 54-year-old job hunter will be unemployed for nearly a year.

    Repeated inquiries can go unanswered, like space probes lost in a distant galaxy. In one of the most comprehensive studies, résumés were sent out on behalf of more than 40,000 fictitious applicants of different ages for thousands of low-skill jobs like janitors, administrative assistants and retail sales clerks in 12 cities. In general, the older they were, the fewer callbacks they got.

    Those in their 60s “never do better, and often do worse,” than those a decade or two younger, said David Neumark, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, who oversaw the research.

    It is toughest for women, who suffer more age discrimination than men starting in their 40s, the researchers found. “The evidence of age discrimination against women kind of pops out in every study,” Mr. Neumark said.
    As for Mr. Adair, he said he had been through the same job-application routine so many times that it felt like “Groundhog Day.” Over the years, he consulted three lawyers about age discrimination. Each time, they advised that an individual lawsuit would not be worth the legal costs.
    Mr. Adair’s notes from a session for job hunters. “It’s devastating,” Mr. Adair, a former Toyota quality manager, said of his repeated rejections. “You go through the stages just like dying.”
    Andrea Morales for The New York Times

    Mr. Adair’s notes from a session for job hunters. “It’s devastating,” Mr. Adair, a former Toyota quality manager, said of his repeated rejections. “You go through the stages just like dying.”CreditAndrea Morales for The New York Times
    With a small pension and Social Security, he said, he and his wife are “just getting by.”

    “It’s devastating,” Mr. Adair said. “You go through the stages just like dying. First you can’t believe it. You’re so sure and your wife is so sure, and even the recruiter is. Then you get mad.” By the end, you feel like giving up, he said.

    Wanted: Greener Employees
    Hiring complaints and lawsuits are rarely filed because they are difficult to prove and the cost is high, said Robert E. Weisberg, a regional attorney with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Florida.

    To bring a case against Seasons 52, a national restaurant chain, Mr. Weisberg said, the commission looked to establish a pattern of bias over a period of years by combining statistical analyses with testimony from applicants.

    The agency examined whether the chain could have hired so few applicants 40 or older if there had been no age discrimination, and calculated the odds at less than one in 10,000, according to court documents. The commission also collected affidavits from 139 applicants at 35 restaurants.

    George Simmons was 45 when he applied at a Seasons 52 in Lone Tree, Colo., in 2014. “My interview was going well until the interviewer asked me my age,” he stated. After he answered, he said, he was shown the door. “I asked what was the problem,” he said, “and the interviewer responded that the restaurant was looking for younger people.”

    Heidi Barsaloux was 44 when she applied for a bartender position at a Seasons 52 in Schaumburg, Ill., in 2010. “An interviewer told me that they were not looking for people with that much experience and wanted people who were more green,” she said.
    A third applicant was told, “We are not looking for old white guys.”

    Ultimately, the chain, part of Darden Restaurants, agreed last year to pay $2.85 million and hire a monitor to prevent discrimination against applicants over 40. As part of the settlement, the chain denied any wrongdoing.

    There have been other legal offensives.

    The Communications Workers of Americahas filed a lawsuit on behalf of millions of older Americans against Amazon, T-Mobile and Cox Communications, accusing them and hundreds of other major employers of systematic age discrimination in hiring based on targeted online advertising.

    The union and several workers have also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionagainst more than 70 employers and employment agencies related to age discrimination in recruiting. It expects that some of those will turn into class-action lawsuits.

    By exposing so much of the help-wanted process on the internet, “the transformation to digital recruiting has shined a spotlight on how discrimination happens, and it’s made it much easier to do so,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, a lawyer at Outten & Golden working with the union. “We’re going to start going after these companies, one by one.”

    And in a broad settlement with civil rights groups and the union, Facebook agreed to eliminate the ability of advertisers to screen out minority groups, women or older job seekers from seeing particular help-wanted listings.

    Facebook has agreed not to let advertisers screen out minority groups, women or older job seekers from seeing particular job listings. In one example of the practice, users who clicked on “Why am I seeing this ad?” were told it was aimed at men 18 to 50 who live in or were recently near Fort Worth.


    Facebook has agreed not to let advertisers screen out minority groups, women or older job seekers from seeing particular job listings. In one example of the practice, users who clicked on “Why am I seeing this ad?” were told it was aimed at men 18 to 50 who live in or were recently near Fort Worth.
    Facebook itself can control which ads users see by delivering them based on age, gender and ZIP code.
    “We want the E.E.O.C. to declare that this type of exclusionary advertising is unlawful” on any online platform, Mr. Romer-Friedman said.

    Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, said the company had taken steps to combat hiring discrimination and was exploring what more to do.

    A Cap on Experience
    Dale E. Kleber had been out of work for three years when he saw a posting in 2014 for a legal position at CareFusion, a medical technology company. At 58, with three of his four children living at home, in a suburb of Chicago, he was feeling the financial strain of prolonged unemployment.

    So even though the ad specified that applicants should have no more than seven years of experience, Mr. Kleber applied. CareFusion ended up hiring a 29-year-old.

    Mr. Kleber, a veteran lawyer and former general counsel of a national dairy and food company, sued, arguing that a limit on experience effectively ruled out older applicants.

    “Litigation is a terrible way to settle disputes,” said Mr. Kleber, who during his career had defended companies against complaints filed with the E.E.O.C. “It’s a very uncertain process, it is fraught with risk, and sometimes it comes out wrong.”

    Putting a cap on experience, though, “just seemed so egregious,” he said.

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit did not agree. In a rulingthis year supporting CareFusion, it stated that recruiting practices that have the effect of screening out older applicants — what is known in legal terms as having a “disparate impact” — did not violate the law.
    The decision mirrored one involving R. J. Reynolds Tobacco made earlier by the Court of Appeals for 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which the Supreme Court declined to review. It ruled that unlike employees already on the payroll who can show that a policy has a negative impact on a group regardless of the motivation, applicants would have to prove intentional discrimination.

    Troy Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for Becton Dickinson and Company, which owns CareFusion, said, “We are deeply committed to providing equal employment opportunities and a workplace free from discrimination, and as such we are pleased with the decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.”

    In April, Mr. Kleber and the AARP Foundation asked the United States Supreme Court to review the case.

    “It defies common sense,” Mr. Kleber said, to think Congress “intended to offer greater legal protections to people who have jobs than people looking for jobs” when it passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in 1967.

    Other older workers and advocates elsewhere are making the same argument, pushing for a broader interpretation of the law.

    In a federal court in California, a class-action lawsuit against the global accounting firm PwC that claims “substantial evidence of age disparities in hiring” was certified in April. The company noted on its career website and in reports that the average age of its 220,000-member work force was 27, and that 80 percent of the staff members were millennials (born after 1981).

    PwC responded that the company’s “hiring practices are merit-based and have nothing to do with age.” It added, “The plaintiffs’ accusations are false, and we will prove that in court.”

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