The American population is highly
segregated by age.
Small children too young to go to
school are sent to nurseries until age five or six, when they enter kindergarten
or the first grade. From then until
age 18, or in some cases 16, school age children and adolescents are segregated
from adult life. In fact, schoolchildren seldom know any children in another
grade, for schools too are segregated.
Those young people who go to
college after high school are frequently sent out of town, so that they see
their families and adults only on vacations. Those high school graduates who do
not go to college enter the adult working world of young adults and middle aged
people, who build a wall between themselves and those designated as “old.”
Those who can afford it and are 55
years old or more may move into senior citizens’ villages in the south. These
institutions advertise golf and tennis playing and socialization between people
of the same age without interference from children. Those who live in these
communities seldom see their adult offspring, from whom they are therefore
prominently segregated, while allegedly having a great time in the company of
others living in such institutions. Of course the real purpose of incarcerating
the old in these senior communities is to abandon them.
All over the United States are
institutions for “senior citizens,” meaning people viewed as “old” by
families and friends. These institutions cost the residents at least $100,000 a
year. They are generally advertised on television by actors and actresses who
display “A Place for Mom.” The
“Mom” is seen on the television having a great time in the company of others
already living there. Now advertisements are one thing; reality another. The
real reason the old are incarcerated in these institutions is for the adult
children to be rid of old parents whose very age proves that they are old and
boring, incompetent, stupid, and unworthy of attention. Thus homes for the aged
have been called “the final segregation,” as hardly anyone who is
incarcerated in one of these institutions will ever come back out again.
Anyone who has ever visited one of
these institutions for the old must have noticed that these places are usually
absolutely silent, even if a large number of people live there. The reason for
this silence is that many residents sleep all day in order to deal with the
misery of having been rejected by their families and abandoned by those they
raised with so much love for so many years. It has been said that one father can
support six children but six children cannot support one father.
And so many of our old people must
spend the last years with strangers, subject to the whims of so-called
administrators and other personnel, who ridicule and insult the helpless
residents. Thus their lives, in their old age, become a nightmare.
There is another stage in the
segregation of the old. These are the nursing homes, which reputedly help those
too ill to help themselves.
It is interesting to contemplate
that people convicted of murder usually serve 8.5 years in prison while those
convicted of being old serve a life sentence.