History of Ageism in Korea
As you have seen, various forms of ageism prevail in our daily lives. There are some fundamental factors which intensify ageism, as well as remove ageism from society. There are three global reasons, and one reason ageism is prevalent in East-Asian culture.
To start, one global factor is that age discrimination issues were pushed away by gender or racial discrimination. From the 18th century, we were struggling to make a fair world between men and women, as well as across the race spectrum. The significance of fairness between ages is undervalued between the 18th and 20th centuries.
The second factor could be seen as the development of capitalism. Capitalism emphasizes efficiency; thus, the elderely have been considered as inefficient and lazy workers. This hasty generalization is reflective of the early typical age discrimination;
The final global factor is connected to the previous one mentioned above. As previously stated, capitalism has given preference to the youth. The social mood fosters a youth-centered culture. Naturally seniors have fallen from their high perch in society. These three factors are related to ageism against elders. However, the following factor is related to ageism against kids and teens in East- Asia.
In East Asia, Confucianism is a wide-spread ideology. Confucianism emphasizes that, “There is a proper order for everything. The order is determined by the time.” This idea is often misinterpreted to mean, ‘kids are property of adults and they should obey adults.’ This is one main factor of Asian ageism; despising kids.
How to End Ageism
As we have read, ageism is deeply rooted in our culture and society, which indirectly affect one’s subconscience. To treat ageism better, we should correct our inner sense of what is morally correct or wrong.
First, put yourself in others’ shoes. We have passed our childhood, and we will pass our old age. Is it okay to be rejected from a place just because you are too young and it is assumed you will be rude and ill-mannered? Absolutely not. How about this? 10 years later, you go to a fine-dining restaurant with your old parents. But you are rejected because your parents are too old and they are expected to be too noisy and do not fit with the restaurant’s mood. Is it reasonable? If you put yourself in others’ shoes, it will help you to correct your ill-defined concept.
Second, there have been several types of discrimination where the only difference was the criteria such as age, gender, race, education. We should be reminded that ageism is as serious a discrimination as racism and sexism.
These days, ageism issues are a hot potato in Korean society. We should watch our words and actions; think twice before acting. When you act and speak without thinking, it can offend others. Lastly, remember that ageism is a serious form of discrimination and hatred.