Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
What are you like grandad?
8 July 2018, 01:26 | Updated: 8 July 2018, 01:36
A new study has found that the older people get, the more racist they become. Isn't that an astonishing finding? Aren't you absolutely stunned?
Not everyone, of course, if you are a senior citizen reading this, I am sure that you are the very model of acceptance and inclusivity.
I'm talking about other, older, less “woke” people than your good self.
This discovery comes from the branch of science I took at university, which I know as the study of the bloomin' obvious.
Psychologists have three suggestions as to why people become more racist as they age.
Firstly, they claim that people become more prejudiced with the passing years because we feel increasingly insecure and anxious about death.
Some scientists say that hating an easily identifiable group can bring a sense of belonging and identity, and discussing their boiling hatred with others helps deal with facing their imminent demise.
Like a box of chocolates, prejudice is good to share.
It gives them a sense of enormous well-being to swap their poison about those that are different from them, with those that are the same as them.
It almost makes life worth clinging to.
This is all according to Dr Steve, a psychologist at Leeds Beckett University, which is an actual institution of learning, and not something I just made up.
He thinks that the fear of death is ameliorated by clinging to identity, to try and gain a sense of belonging, to be part of a gang, which helps engender a sense of protection.
By demonising other groups we deal with the anxiety of our own mortality by establishing our own identity.
Sorry to disagree Dr Steve, but I don't think that's it.
An alternative view was expressed by psychotherapist Dr Allison, who thinks that rather than a need to belong, it is the insecurities caused by ageing that propels the aged into prejudice.
Her conjecture is that the myriad quirks of advancing years – ill health, the drooping, sagging and malfunction of our bodies makes us project onto others our own self-loathing.
If you don't like yourself, how can you like others? Low self-esteem leads to the externally expressed hatred of others, because the alternative is to project that hatred inwards, and we would rather hate others than hate ourselves.
I'm not sure about that one either.
The third explanation is that their brains are on the fritz.
Research from the University of Queensland, Australia, showed that as we age, the part of our brain that regulates emotional outbursts gets smaller.
The thing that is involved with controlling our thoughts is the frontal lobe, which is not as rude as it sounds.
As it shrinks, the elderly lose that voice in their heads that tells them to tone a notion down a bit before expressing it out loud.
What results is that they lose the ability to censor their views, and then they are filmed ranting at a passenger on a train and they achieve fame late in life when the video goes viral on YouTube.
While that is persuasive, I don't much like that explanation either.
I would suggest, based on no knowledge of anything whatsoever, that people do not get more racist as they get older, they were always that racist.
After stifling their darkest thoughts and bottling them up for fear of public castigation during the politically correct decades since the 1980's, they get to an age when they just don't care what people think any more and all that contained bile just starts spewing out.
Society finds it in its heart to forgive or ignore them because they are old.
I think people appear to get more racist as they age because they get a free pass for bad behaviour when they get a free pass for bus travel.