Plenty of people are aware of, think about and talk about religious, ethnic, and racial diversity in American society.
Scott E. Page, a professor of complex systems, political science and economics at the University of Michigan, is suggesting that diversity is one of the mainsprings of productivity in the business world. NY Times article here.
I’m good with that but what bothers me is that the VALUE of aging as a source of diversity is routinely discounted.
The myth is that “all old people are alike.”
My hero, T. Franklin Williams tells doctors in training…
“When you’ve seen one old person, you’ve seen one old person…”
In other words, age is the most distinctive, diverse, part of the entire life cycle.
Put another way…
Infants are the group of people in America who are the most like each other. Despite what their mothers might believe, any given newborn is very very like all other newborns.
People in their 80’s, however, are very very different from each other.
So if diversity is good and contributes in a healthy way to the overall diversity of our society…
We need to make sure that a diversity of ages is a part of the mix.
This is why I am generally opposed to the standard and unthinking practice of segregating older people from people of other generations.