“Otherization” … Fuel for Ageism, Foe to Person-Directed Culture

January 19, 2017
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

embracing-the-spectrumAs culture changers, we make it a daily practice to reach beyond labels and assumptions to deeply know each unique individual. Is it always easy? No. But we know that this alone makes it possible for us to transform the traditional culture of care into one that centers around the singular needs and preferences of each human being.  This positions us to offer a different voice, to advocate for a different way in a broader culture that is currently rife with divisiveness and pigeon-holing of others. I have been thinking about this a great deal lately, and so when I came across this incredibly thoughtful post by Jeannette Leardi, I was moved to share it with all of you.

Regardless of our “political affiliation, economic position, or social identity,” Embracing the Spectrum eloquently details how our culture’s tendency toward “otherization” stimulates ageism and shadows the reality that we become even more distinct and individualized as we age.  Leardi’s piece really shines a light on the dangerous domino effect our presumptions can trigger.  Definitely not fertile ground for a culture of care that honors every unique, precious human being.

Check out the post here on ChangingAging.org, and ask yourself and those you live and work with:

  • How do I/we currently support a culture that emphasizes the value of each unique individual?
  • What strategies or approaches do I/we utilize to sustain a sharp focus on individualization, rather than otherization?

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