Letters to the Editor: Old Americans shouldn’t have to prove their value to combat ageism

Gregory Kuhl, 69, shown shopping at Sprouts in Hollywood, said he experienced ageism before the coronavirus pandemic.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a 72-year-old, a bioethicist and a liberal, I read the L.A. Times’ article on ageism surging during the COVID-19 pandemic with mixed feelings.

I was glad to see criticism of age discrimination in allocating scarce resources such as ventilators, but I was sorry to see this criticism justified by citing the “many ... ways [old] people contribute to society.”

Old people should not have to prove themselves worthy of an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They should have this equality simply by virtue of being human.

Eight, 18 or 84 — no one’s life should matter more.


Felicia Nimue Ackerman, Providence, R.I.

The writer is a professor of philosophy at Brown University.


To the editor: I am 82, still teach private students English, walk miles a day and am completely on my own.

To whomever questions the value of an elder, I say, whatever age you are now, you will be another day older tomorrow, and another day older the day after that, and another day older the day after that.

And soon, you too will be just as valueless as I am. Consider that.

Therese H.E. Whitney, Sherman Oaks



To the editor: Ageism cuts both ways. We seniors (I’m 70) can self-quarantine, keep socially distant and stay isolated, but we have kids and grandkids too, many of whom have lost their jobs.

Does closing schools and restaurants really make seniors safer? COVID-19 has not killed a single school-age child in California. We can still protect the elderly without keeping the younger generation out of work and out of school.

Chris Norby, Fullerton