The three letter word

IMG_6116Is it me, or is there something just plain wrong with describing a group of people as ‘the poor’ ‘the rich’ ‘the disabled’ ‘the young’ etc? That small word – the – relegates any number of individuals to a homogenous blob with all the prejudice that dehumanisation implies.

We know from recent events with a Labour MP that trying to stick sections of society into boxes can be at best inaccurate and at worst plain offensive.

To me even describing a group as ‘poor people’, ‘rich people’, ‘disabled people’ is much preferable. And while I’m on the subject…

At 59, I have a thing about being plonked in a group called ‘the old’. It has all sorts of connotations – perpetuated by the media and wider society – that are alien to me and I imagine most others in the 50+ age group (which is what I understand policy wonks define as ‘older’) Note: I’m quite happy to be described as ‘older’ – it’s accurate if you’re comparing me to someone younger and, to me, it doesn’t have the same baggage.

There may be some valid reasons for needing to categorise groups of people – so-called segmentation has been very much a part of my 35 years in not-for-profit marketing – but, when looking for common characteristics, we try to be a bit sophisticated in how we do this.

And before anyone suggests I’m just being a grumpy old git, I take exception to that description as well – I’m not grumpy!


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