In 1952, Ralph Ellison published "The Invisible Man." That captured the enforced perceptional non-presence of African-Americans in American society.
It was a different time. Although we Baby Boomers studied the book in college, there was a long time lag between the outing of African-Americans as essentially invisible and aggressive legal and public relations campaigns for their right to total equality. Including acknowledging their presence.
Of course, there are exceptions. In his 80s, media tycoon aka The Sun God, Rupert Murdoch, gets extreme attention. Both in the media and in the myriad networks of the chattering class in major cities around the world.
It's odd that we haven't created our version of The Black Panthers. Years ago the Gray Panthers attempted to gain power and influence. Obviously that didn't work. Otherwise we aging workers and social animals wouldn't be invisible. Society would have been too scared not to have treated us with respect. Maybe even deference.
So, what should we do, right now?
Here are 5 recommendations.
Be there. In all situations in which we are not operating from a position of strength, we human beings tend to hide. Wrong move. Amidst emailgate and more, Hillary Clinton remained out there. At work, we gotta push to be included in meetings, travel to call on clients, and make presentations to the board. Clinton is leading in polls.
Call 'em on it. Not making eye contact with me? I will call you on it. I will adopt a strident tone. Then smile. You will get it that we are not to be ruled out.
Instill fear. That entails knowing our legal rights, being perceptive about real or alleged slights, and taking action. For this we might have to arm ourselves with various devices.
For example, I should have worn a wire or had a recording device I could turn on when a co-worker at a survival job I took in 2003, made a crack about my age. And wouldn't let it go for about 4 minutes. Had I presented the recording to the powers that be, she would have been gonzo. The message would have been out: Don't mess with older workers.
Fear is good. Because those contracting my ghostwriting and speechwriting services fear my prominence in social media, I never get stiffed. Being stiffed is bad.
Yes, develop a presence in media, both establishment and social. It's not hard to get a hang of it. Here is the how-to. The trick is: You got to stick with it.
Adopt a symbol of solidarity. It could be a pin we wear on our shirts. It could be a silver armband. It could be a something for our wrists. Don't leave home without it.
Hound elected officials and those campaigning for office. We should be burrs under the saddles of elected leaders. We need to contact them compulsively.
Meanwhile, we have to find ways to reinforce our sense of self and our confidence in our ability to work and love. That's an inside job. And the burden is on us to attend to that every day. We could be aging for the next 10, 20, 30 years or more.