In one of the most encouraging studies in recent times, a group of leftist scholars out of England has found that the political correctness minefield driven by the left is wildly unpopular with Americans across virtually every category.
The British study group came to these results, without aiming for them, when it took a deep-dive look at political polarization in America. An unexpected unity arose among the vast majority of Americans across race, gender and income lines in really hating today’s politically correct atmosphere — and possibly those pushing it — which could have long-term, detrimental political ramifications for the Democratic Party.
The key takeaway from the study looking at political correctness is this: Fully 80 percent of Americans believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Those numbers vary, but remain vast majorities across boundaries. Interestingly, even young people don’t like it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. It seems that not only is political correctness deeply unpopular and a political anchor, but it also has no future.
The study Hidden Tribes: A Study Of America’s Polarized Landscape, was conducted by More In Common, which is a European organization made up of what appears to be mostly leftists and socialists. The researchers for the study include scholars Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon — whose pedigrees include Harvard, Yale, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. It was in no conceivable way a conservative organization or conservative researchers, which makes the findings all the more compelling.
The 10-month study period between December 2017 and September 2018 included a nationally representative poll of 8,000 Americans, six small focus groups and 30 one-hour interviews.
Researchers identified seven clusters of Americans when talking about immigration, white privilege, the prevalence of sexual harassment: progressive activists, traditional liberals, passive liberals, the politically disengaged, moderates, traditional conservatives, and devoted conservatives.
In those clusters, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are outside the American mainstream; 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are far outside the mainstream; but about 65 percent of Americans are in some form of the middle, and the authors call them the “exhausted majority.” According to the report, this large number of Americans “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.”
Most of the “exhausted majority,” and virtually all of the traditional conservatives share a strong dislike for political correctness. The study did not define political correctness, which was probably necessary in that it is always changing — and that is part of what people don’t like. But it includes being required to use just the right words, and never the wrong words, in a broad range of topics and being required to treat people differently based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation and prefer certain categories over others.
So when Democratic U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono says that “men need to shut up” she is invoking political correctness. When the New York Times runs a column by Alexis Grenell (a white woman) under the headline “White Women, Come Get Your People,” she is using political correctness. When colleges have cordoned off free speech zones so that students don’t get “triggered” by potentially “offensive” words or thoughts, that is political correctness. Gender non-binary pronouns such as ne and ve are political correctness. Americans simply recoil at all of this and so much more.
Here’s a further breakdown. This is the percent of Americans by category who consider political correctness to be a problem in the country:
- Blacks: 75 percent
- Whites: 79 percent
- Asians: 82 percent
- Hispanics 87 percent
- American Indians: 88 percent
- Income under $50,000: 83 percent
- Income over $100,00: 70 percent
- Never attended college: 87 percent
- Post graduate degrees: 66 percent
- Traditional conservatives: 97 percent
- Traditional liberals: 61 percent
- Progressive activists: 30 percent
The takeaway is crystal clear. Other than the tiny percentage of Americans who are progressive activists, there is widespread, cross-category opposition to the sort of political correctness that makes it almost impossible to communicate without fear.
As a 40-year-old American Indian in Oklahoma told researchers in a focus group: “It seems like everyday you wake up something has changed … Do you say Jew? Or Jewish? Is it a black guy? African-American? … You are on your toes because you never know what to say. So political correctness in that sense is scary.”
And politically, it is a poison issue. Remember progressive activists are only 8 percent of the population.
Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard University, reviewed the study for The Atlantic magazine. In that review, he admitted to a revelation that should really give Democrats pause:
“In the days before “Hidden Tribes” was published, I ran a little experiment on Twitter, asking my followers to guess what percentage of Americans believe that political correctness is a problem in this country. The results were striking: Nearly all of my followers underestimated the extent to which most Americans reject political correctness. Only 6 percent gave the right answer. (When I asked them how people of color regard political correctness, their guesses were, unsurprisingly, even more wildly off.)
Obviously, my followers on Twitter are not a representative sample of America. But as their largely supportive feelings about political correctness indicate, they are probably a decent approximation for a particular intellectual milieu to which I also belong: politically engaged, highly educated, left-leaning Americans—the kinds of people, in other words, who are in charge of universities, edit the nation’s most important newspapers and magazines, and advise Democratic political candidates on their campaigns.
So the fact that we are so widely off the mark in our perception of how most people feel about political correctness should probably also make us rethink some of our other basic assumptions about the country.”
This is an admirable insight and admission by Mounk. The sense among conservatives is that progressives, academics, colleges and other leftist bastions are far outside the mainstream of America. Inasmuch as they are pulling the Democratic Party with them, they are inviting electoral disaster for Democrats at some point.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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