Is there such a thing as “age racism?”

by , under Enrique

Pro union chairman Antti Rinne branded as “age racism” (ikärasismia) a proposal by Juhana Vartianen, director general of the Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT), to lower salaries for workers approaching retirement age, reports YLE. Is there such a thing as age racism? Shouldn’t the correct term be age discrimination (ikäsyrjintä)?

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Read English-language YLE story here.

Even if Rinne wants to emphasize age discrimination by calling it a dirty name like “age racism,”  the usage of the term in such a manner is not only wrong but demeaning to those who suffer from ethnic discrimination.

Like many sociologists who study racism, this social ill exists because it permits one ethnic group to empower itself at the expense of another.  Racism is a far worse pathological disorder and goes beyond individual prejudice.

Migrant Tales wrote recently: “It’s clear that a lot is lost when you water down a term like racism and redefine it as ”age racism.” It’s like taking the term Holocaust and applying to something minor than the systematic murder of six million Jews in World War 2.”

Just like the Winter War (1939-40) stands out as an important historical milestone for Finns, racism plays the same role for immigrants and visible minorities. It’s a part of their history.

To use the term racism incorrectly in any language is to defile its true meaning and blunt and divide our attention to such a menace.

  1. JusticeDemon

    Obviously not the clearest thinker in the room when there is a spider plant on the window ledge.

    Another embarrassment for the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki.

    Perhaps we shall soon also hear about body mass index nepotism (painoindeksinepotismi), complexion sexism (ihonväriseksismi) and cocaine alcoholism (kokaiinialkoholismi).

  2. Yossie

    “the usage of the term in such a manner is not only wrong but demeaning to those who suffer from ethnic discrimination.”

    So you can compare forms of discrimination? This form is so bad that comparing it to that form would be demeaning?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –This form is so bad that comparing it to that form would be demeaning?

      People should know better and use proper words. I cannot call a sub-arctic forest a jungle even if it has a lot of trees.

      As far as I’m concerned, the incorrect usage of the term “racism” shows the person’s ignorance about such a social ill.

      Some people have called me a “racist” because I strongly criticize the racism and far-right ideology of the PS. I ask these people if the PS is an ethnic group. They stop calling me a “racist” because they learned the definition of racism.

  3. khr

    I don’t think the dilution of the meaning is intentionally malicious. Words where the origin is somewhat opaque to the speakers are more susceptible to the meaning drift. “Rasismi” ends up easier in combinations whereas “rotusorto” would be obviously incorrect.

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