Ethnicity, race and care in older age
This chapter – which relies on a scoping literature review of scholarship on old age/ageing and ethnicity/race – uses literature on health and social care to ask why this scholarship – which often documents the inequalities that older ethnic minorities face – is not informed by the social justice framework. Relying on Fraser’s framework to answer this question, this chapter uses the concepts of redistribution, recognition and representation to present what the literature on health and social care that brings attention to both old age and ethnicity focuses on: access and usage; attitudes, preferences and experiences and the suitability of different programs/interventions/service. In doing so, this chapter proposes that the essentialist and structuralist understandings of ethnicity/race that inform most gerontological literature on ethnicity/race may be the reason why this literature does not engage with the notion of social justice. In addition, this chapter argues that this literature’s failure to adopt the social constructionist understanding of ethnicity/race is also one of the reasons why this literature gives the impression of being injustice-oblivious. This chapter’s main thesis is therefore that if ethno-gerontologists want to expand their imagination in a social justice-informed way, they need to shift their attention from who these older ethnic minorities are, and what they need, to what practitioners and policymakers can do to address these older people’s needs. Only then can a social justice-informed ethno-gerontology see the light of day.