Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My First Encounter With Age Discrimination

     My first encounter with age discrimination occured a little over a year ago, on the fourth of July. I know that sounds a little bit corny, age discrimination and Independence Day, but I'm not making this up. I was staying at a dude ranch with several members of my extended family. We had a fun time there, riding horses, square dancing, and all that other stuff you find yourself doing at a dude ranch. There was a little gift shop that sold cowboy themed souvenirs. On the door was a sign that read 'Children May Not Make a Purchase Without an Adult Present'. For the first few days, I'd wondered what that sign meant. Were they worried children might try to buy toys and candy with their parents stolen money?
     I hadn't brought any money to the ranch, but I liked walking into the shop and looking at all the little dream catchers. They must have had a few hundred of them. At one time I was standing towards the back of the shop while some of my younger cousins stood at the front. I remember them talking and giggling. Maybe the saleslady didn't like the noise, or maybe she was worried they would break something. Whatever the case, she said, "You kids aren't allowed to be in here."
     Allowed? I never saw a rule that said we weren't allowed to be in the store. The sign only prohibited us from making a purchase on our own.
     This was a small incident. Perhaps the only reason I remember it is because it was Independence Day and I composed a very long, very spirited journal entry about frusturation, discrimination, and exactly what I thought of the word independence. Anyways, this encounter stuck in my head and brought other small incidents to my attention.
     For example, three months later my cousin had her thirteenth birthday. I heard my aunt complaining, "Great. Now Casey's going to be a teenager." I might have let this slide before, but it reminded me of the gift shop incident. I told my aunt (politely, I might add. I like my aunt) that nobody turned into a brat over night, and there is really no reason why anybody should assume teenagers are brats in the first place.
     Little things like this built up over time. All these encounters have given me a different view of the world and a cause to fight-or at least blog-for.

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