Thursday, November 23, 2006

Abolishing Age Discrimination

One of the common forms of discrimination is what is called age discrimination. Age discrimination is as what its name suggests, treating different age categories differently, and giving them unequal rights under the law. Most commonly, age discrimination has two forms: Discrimination against the young (referred to as "minors"), and discrimination against the elderly. The basic driving factor for discrimination against the young is what some people call "age of consent", where young individuals are considered under the law as non-consenting individuals. Similarly, the driving factor for discrimination against the elderly is their general disability and incompetence. Here, I will argue against discrimination against the young, as I believe that all people -including minors among other- are consenting individuals. Discrimination against the elderly mostly falls under the acceptable forms of discrimination. (PS: acceptable forms of discrimination has its own post here)

Discrimination under the terms of the law is a seriously bad practice that has to be addressed and abolished for good. All individuals should have equal rights under the law whether they are white-skinned or not, males or not, heterosexuals or not, adults or not, whatever or not, anything or else!! Within this view, it becomes absolutely necessary to grantee the right of consent to all individuals... In practice, we find numerous examples where those generally referred to as "minors" are denied their basic right of consent: Minors cannot obtain a driving license. Minors cannot vote. Minors cannot participate in the parliament. Minors cannot buy tobacco and alcohol. Minors cannot join the porn industry. Sexual contact between minors and adults is banned in numerous countries. Some clubs are 18+. Its even minors have special treatment when they commit a crime or something of the like under most legislations. All these forms of discrimination have to be abandoned.

Some people argue that minors in fact dont have the capacity to give consent. First if all, we have to agree that consent is a basic right, no individual should be given the power to undermine the consent of another. This basically means that one cannot withhold another's consent even when they feel its not within their capacity. This might seem like theoretical discussion that isnt practical. NOT REALLY!! I agree that we might find that most minors of our time do in fact lack the minimum skill required for giving real consent, but this issue can be solved. Maybe solving this issue will need more than one generation, but it can be solved. The root of this issue lies in parenting. Lets face it, the parents of our time suck big-time!!! Parents dont raise their kids with the consent issue in mind, but instead, they use the ban-it-if-it-is-controversial mentality, and raise their kids accordingly. They dont raise their kids thinking that its their (the parents') duty to empower their kids with the knowledge required for them to pass judgments. Parents have to teach their kids how to make sound judgments instead of making decisions for them. Practically, not until parents learn to raise their kids to these standards that age discrimination can be safely abolished. And YES, even a toddler has the capacity to make sound judgments, and its is the parents' duty to learn how to empower their kids with that skill!

The problem remains that even when parents fail to raise their kids properly, we still cannot deny any individual their right to consent - this should be out-of-question. I am sure that one day humanity will abolish age discrimination, but for all I can hope, I hope that day would come sooner rather than later.

Another issue worth mentioning is the difference between "consenting" individual and "misguided" individual. Consent is only legitimate when the individual forms their decision based on full account of truthful information, otherwise that individual has been misguided. The difference should be noted when taking the issue of consent into account. This topic is equally valid for all ages, and not specific to any age category. (see my comment on Jameed's Blog for extra information)

I have discussed the issue of age discrimination in numerous occasion, check the comments to see how others have (negatively) reacted towards the issue:
-Jameed's entry regarding a NAMBLA-like association (here)
-Black Iris's entry regarding smoking laws in Jordan (here)
-And, on this very blog, when I posted about the .xxx domain proposal (here)


Dar said...

Hello there , how r u , may i have yr email plz , if u dont mind ya3ni , email me at


Devil's Mind said...

Okay, I have sent an email to you. I am not sure what is the issue you will be addressing me about, but if it where about this blog I'd rather it being discussed in a public channel (like the comments - or the notes and complaints section) not a private one (ie. emails). Otherwise, you are more than welcome to drop me any kind of note through emails.