A small cadre of psychological scientists have continued over the years to explore the controversial connection between low intelligence and prejudice, and at this point they have overcome most of the methodological barricades, allowing them to rigorously analyze and answer this important societal question.
I am a worrier. I worry about everything. I worry about the craziest things. I never worried that a police officer would shoot me. I never worried that an officer would shoot my brother. I never worried that they would shoot any of my rebellious friends. If you asked me if it ever crossed my mind whether an officer might pull his gun and shoot at us? I'd respond,"ludicrous, inconceivable, crazy" -- not something I worried about.
Like any prejudice, our perceptions about what it means to be physically challenged are filled with beliefs and interpretations that begin in our own minds. If you understand how this works it's a lot easier to move beyond any self-limiting illusions and judgments we might have, and go forward to live successfully with your illness, injury, or attitude towards the aging process.
Negative caricatures of aging are far too prevalent in our culture -- and they are harmful. Simply telling people to think positively about aging doesn't work, because the mind is very good at thwarting such explicit lessons. There may, however, be a more subtle way to mitigate the deleterious effects of such caricatures.
Use of the term "uppity" has experienced a revival since Barack Obama's election as the nation's first Black President. More than a few of Mr. Obama's detractors have taken to calling him "arrogant" and at times, they have dispensed with the veneer of political correctness by even calling him "uppity."