There are 3 prevailing “ISM’s” throughout our society that I want to focus on in this blog. The collective worldwide discussion has shifted from COVID-19 to Racism. The others are sexism and ageism. Which “ISM” is next? We’ll have to wait to find out. For now, we’ll start with racism.
Here’s the definition of racism:
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
You would have to be delusional to believe racism didn’t or doesn’t exist. I think most people would agree there is racism and that it occurs no matter where you live. Here are the various ethnicities: American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, White.
I’m first generation Italian (considered White). When my father emigrated from Italy to Canada he encountered a variety of derogatory slurs and presumptions due to his poor English. He was dismissed in many social gatherings but then also accepted in others. Not the best world, but he and others like him managed! This level of mistreatment is mild in contrast with challenges other races face on a daily basis. Even though I don’t personally experience blatant racism today doesn’t mean I don’t know that it exists. The point of contention is whether racism is systemic. Here’s the definition of systemic:
relating to a system, especially as opposed to a particular part.
It’s a discussion that should be had and should be met with openness and willingness to listen. Views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum should be heard with respect. There are no ‘fast solutions’ so patience is paramount.
The second “ISM” I want to talk about is Sexism. Here’s the definition:
prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
Although I don’t have any overt experience(s) with racism, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman that hasn’t been touched by some form of sexism; present company included. If you’re male (regardless of race) I think it would be difficult to relate to a woman’s almost daily plight with sexism. We must consider everything from how we wear our hair, choose our clothes, apply our makeup, have a night out, and even our choice of words. Just about everything we do can be used or held against us.
Like racism, women have to be aware of their surroundings and must always be careful. I believe men can be empathetic, but it’s hard for men to relate when they’re not the same sex. Like racism, it’s hard to relate when you’re not the same race or in this case gender.
Like racism, I believe the point of contention is whether the issue is systemic and once again these conversations must be had and met with the same patience and respect. When we come together regardless of race or gender, we can strengthen our communities with understanding, respect and most importantly love.
The third “ISM” I want to discuss is Ageism. It doesn’t get a lot of airplay, but it is something ALL of us are going to experience, no matter your race or your gender. Here’s the definition:
prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.
Racism and Sexism have active and aggressive organizations that fight for the cause. Well funded and influential, they manage to help further the cause of reducing the ISM. Ageism isn’t on anyone’s radar, so therefore there are no ‘active’ national organizations vigorously representing the cause. While there are certain some organizations by and for seniors, they are typically not fighting against ageism, per se.
Did you know that a recent poll of Americans think that old is now 57 years old…ah, that hurts! How many of you are near that age or older and think, wait, what…I’m not old! Well, you might not think you’re old, but the rest of society thinks you are.
As with the other two ISM’s, we need to ask, is Ageism systemic? The systems around us for ageism are more overt. We have a specific retirement age, we encourage professions that offer pensions, we have senior discounts at all major retailers, and we have a whole host of preconditions based on an ‘aging population’. We’re taught from a young age that you get educated, enter the workforce, and then retire and enjoy the ‘golden years’. Systemic ageism is blatant, and yet we all seem to accept it.
The image used in this blog is of Madame CJ Walker. She was born in 1867 and died in 1919 (at 51). Her parents were slaves, and she was their first child that was born ‘free’. Her life was not easy. She was an orphan at 6, married at 14, and widowed by 20.
Walker faced tremendous hardships from both racism and sexism. She died too young to have been a victim of ageism. With all of that, she was the first female self-made millionaire. It’s an amazing and inspirational true story of a great American.
Ageism and Me
I plan on living to at least 120 years of age. And I plan to have those years be productive and vibrant. I have no intention on existing on prescription drugs or being a burden to society. I’m currently 52. That means, in my eyes, I’m a ‘baby’. But, in the eyes of society, I’m getting old. I believe I have my best years ahead of me. I still have a lot of things I want to do and will do. My commitment to clean eating is paramount. I lead by example every chance I get, and I’m always seeking the truth. Words are good and can contribute to change but action is undeniable.
How about you? How many ISM’s are you fighting? What can you do today to make a difference? What can you do to make someone’s life a little easier?
So, which “ISM is next”? Without a crystal ball, only time will tell.
But the key to any ISM is to be open and respectful because one thing is certain. We’re going to have to fight some form of ISM in our lifetime. Some people will fight two ISM’s, and others will fight all three! Be kind, be intentional, be open!
It’s the right time to learn, and be better, every day! That’s why no matter how you self-identify, I invite you to take my online self-study course called Get Food Smart, Get Real. If you’ve had enough of this movie, make a change for yourself today. I’m offering you a $50.00 coupon to use at checkout. Click HERE and type MINDSET for your $50.00 off coupon.
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