Adultism, or "Don’t Trust Anyone UNDER 30"

A million years ago there was a slogan that incanted youth to, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Well, a lot of people have been able to dismiss that call, especially as they’ve gotten older and their “anti-establishment” heroes have fallen. But this post isn’t about that phenomenon.

Instead, today I’m writing about the reality that a lot of the people who ascribed to the ideal of assigning trust according to age are in power today. They’ve got the positions that lead our society as government officials, business titans, community agency heads, and thought leaders. Some of them are overt about their discrimination against youth; some are coy. But the most apparent lesson I’ve discovered is the gross abuse of these individuals who are biased in the worst kind of ways: Ironically, these faux-revolutionaries who chanted against older people are now leading the battering ram against youth. Now it seems like they’re yelling, “Don’t Trust Anyone UNDER 30!” Someone even wrote a book by that title.

So the age discrimination battle is alive and well. We need to take a much more assertive posture in order to teach adults and young people about age discrimination, adultism, and adultocracy, as well as the fear of children and the fear of youth. We need workshop outlines, a simple and accessible guide, and a website that will successfully drive people to the growing pile of information available about age discrimination. Next steps…

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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