To the editor:
In a recent letter in this newspaper, Joan Hatem-Roy has advised that elderly people should be extra cautious about going out to restaurants, etc., because the elderly have a “high risk of contracting the virus due to age.” She mistakenly says this is “not a matter of age discrimination, but of proven scientific fact.”
Stereotyping people by age is age discrimination, pure and simple. Assigning to all of the elderly the attributes of fewer than the entire group wrongly stereotypes them all.
About 50% of the “elderly” are neither ill nor frail, nor unduly sensitive to viruses, but have good immune systems. Yet, all elderly are being discriminated against like pariahs, required to “stay at home” due to the ignorance of a younger majority.
Hatem-Roy probably would intuitively recognize the error if the group named was African-American instead of elderly. Yes, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected African-Americans, just as it has disproportionately affected the elderly, but nobody would suggest locking up the entire population of African Americans just because some are susceptible.
It should be the same with the elderly.
Discrimination is discrimination. It is unfair and painful.
The locks “lovingly” placed on elderly residences should be removed. Administrators should help families gain better education instead of foisting a “protective guilt" upon younger relatives to “care” for their elderly by isolating them.
It is cruel to both age groups. Many elderly are suffering from loneliness, and it is not kind to miseducate younger relatives.