A lot of people have no idea that the word "uppity," when applied to black people, has racist connotations, but it's getting harder and harder to understand how public figures, in particular, are able to maintain their ignorance of the term's history. President Obama has been a well-known public figure for several years and his conservative critics, in particular, keep making the "uppity" mistake.Gee, it's hard for me to read this even as ironic. That there might be an American English speaker who doesn't know it's racist. Maybe. I know a lot of clueless people, nobody that clueless. But can you even choke out a joke about Limbaugh and Beck not knowing exactly what they're doing? I didn't think so.
Still, there's a question in here about language use. My sense is that people don't use the word uppity much anymore except in highly ironic ways. So, I did a quick NgramViewer check on it and a set of words with closely related meanings, namely: haughty, presumptuous, conceited, arrogant. Here's the result (click to embiggen):
What would account for the uptick in uppity? A simple google search didn't shed any light but I happened to try an Ngram for uppity women and uppity woman. It was about the only collocation I could come up with that sounded like anything you might hear. The result:
If you google those, you get the goldmine I didn't find with a simple(r) search. It turns out, then, that it's not just an ironic use of the term, but a kind of 'taking back' of a once-negative phrase.