This article from The Atlantic is a couple of days old, but only just saw it. It is absolutely amazing and there is so much to take away from it.
On social media, the country seems to divide into two neat camps: Call them the woke and the resentful. Team Resentment is manned—pun very much intended—by people who are predominantly old and almost exclusively white. Team Woke is young, likely to be female, and predominantly black, brown, or Asian (though white “allies” do their dutiful part). These teams are roughly equal in number, and they disagree most vehemently, as well as most routinely, about the catchall known as political correctness.
Reality is nothing like this. As scholars Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon argue in a report published Wednesday, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” most Americans don’t fit into either of these camps. They also share more common ground than the daily fights on social media might suggest—including a general aversion to PC culture.
If you look at what Americans have to say on issues such as immigration, the extent of white privilege, and the prevalence of sexual harassment, the authors argue, seven distinct clusters emerge: progressive activists, traditional liberals, passive liberals, the politically disengaged, moderates, traditional conservatives, and devoted conservatives.
According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical.
Go back and read that again.
Let this sink in. When we were inundated with images in the media of people wailing and sobbing and banging on doors over the Kavanaugh nomination, that represented 8% of the population.
When the Obama administration sent out directives to high schools to make sure boys who identified as girls could change in girls locker rooms and allowed them to totally dominate in girl’s sports, or when activists and companies tired to punish the state of North Carolina over its bathroom bill, that was to appease 8% of the population.
The Huffington Posts tag for “white people” which contains article after article of just how terrible white people are, appeals to 8% of the population.
The Atlantic is right, from the popular culture you would get the impression that this insanity of this woke call-out culture is a dominant force in American politics, yet it represents fewer than 1 in 10 Americans.
By contrast, the two-thirds of Americans who don’t belong to either extreme constitute an “exhausted majority.” Their members “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.”
They are more than an “exhausted majority” they are a silent majority. The Progressive activists that make up the media and entertainment industry have so hardened their bubble that they don’t acknowledge that two-thirds of America even exists.
Most members of the “exhausted majority,” and then some, dislike political correctness. Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.
Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness—and it turns out race isn’t, either.
Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment. Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness.
So when we are treated to screaming treatises about white privilege and cultural appropriation by racial activists who claim to represent oppressed groups, they only represent maybe 2 in 10 minorities.
While 83 percent of respondents who make less than $50,000 dislike political correctness, just 70 percent of those who make more than $100,000 are skeptical about it. And while 87 percent who have never attended college think that political correctness has grown to be a problem, only 66 percent of those with a postgraduate degree share that sentiment.
So what does this group look like? Compared with the rest of the (nationally representative) polling sample, progressive activists are much more likely to be rich, highly educated—and white. They are nearly twice as likely as the average to make more than $100,000 a year. They are nearly three times as likely to have a postgraduate degree. And while 12 percent of the overall sample in the study is African American, only 3 percent of progressive activists are. With the exception of the small tribe of devoted conservatives, progressive activists are the most racially homogeneous group in the country.
This was totally expected. It seems that wealthy, higher educated, predominately white people make up the bulk of the Progressive activist demographic.
That last sentence is my favorite. It confirms that most of the white Progressive activists who claim to be minority allies, hardly know any minorities. What they are engaged in is condescending paternalism in a Progressive way that makes them feel superior.
One obvious question is what people mean by “political correctness.” In the extended interviews and focus groups, participants made clear that they were concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them. But since the survey question did not define political correctness for respondents, we cannot be sure what, exactly, the 80 percent of Americans who regard it as a problem have in mind.
So it seems that the vast majority of Americans hate the aggressive, progressive call-out culture where you can have your life ruined in a matter of days on Twitter and Facebook because some activist didn’t like your choice of words.
There is, however, plenty of additional support for the idea that the social views of most Americans are not nearly as neatly divided by age or race as is commonly believed. According to the Pew Research Center, for example, only 26 percent of black Americans consider themselves liberal. And in the More in Common study, nearly half of Latinos argued that “many people nowadays are too sensitive to how Muslims are treated,” while two in five African Americans agreed that “immigration nowadays is bad for America.”
So much for intersectionalism.
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.
This Atlantic writer sees that she is in a bubble. That’s a step in the right direction. The media personalities, celebrities, and social media activists think that their 8% bubble represents half or more of the nation.
This is why Trump won,these people cannot fathom it, and have been losing their mind for the last two years.
This explains why Senator Elizabeth Warren released a DNA test about her Indian ancestry that blew up in her face. She and her people assumed that the 8% of the population that are so progressive that they would accept a 1 drop rule standard for victimhood made up half the country.
Only the elite media are defending her while the rest of the nation thinks what she did was a laughable disaster.
For the millions upon millions of Americans of all ages and all races who do not follow politics with rapt attention, and who are much more worried about paying their rent than about debating the prom dress worn by a teenager in Utah, contemporary callout culture merely looks like an excuse to mock the values or ignorance of others. As one 57- year-old woman in Mississippi fretted:
The way you have to term everything just right. And if you don’t term it right you discriminate them. It’s like everybody is going to be in the know of what people call themselves now and some of us just don’t know. But if you don’t know then there is something seriously wrong with you.
Eight out ten Americans don’t want a country in which if they think it’s a little weird for a woman to think she’s a man who thinks he’s a dog to put on a fetish mask and play fetch in the park, their employer will be targeted on social media with Progressive hate until they are fired.
The gap between the progressive perception and the reality of public views on this issue could do damage to the institutions that the woke elite collectively run. A publication whose editors think they represent the views of a majority of Americans when they actually speak to a small minority of the country may eventually see its influence wane and its readership decline.
There is a reason Trump call it “the failing New York Times” and CNN ranks below HGTV in ratings. More Americans prefer to watch two douche-bags flipping a house than Don Lemon pretending to speak for all black people.
And a political candidate who believes she is speaking for half of the population when she is actually voicing the opinions of one-fifth is likely to lose the next election.
Can somebody say “Ocasio!”
In a democracy, it is difficult to win fellow citizens over to your own side, or to build public support to remedy injustices that remain all too real, when you fundamentally misunderstand how they see the world.
The Democrats took a shellacking under Obama. He was the second coming of political Jesus and all his news room disciples refused to listen to the blasphemers and unbelievers, and so election after election the power of the Democrats waned.
The as people abandoned the party, the progressive ideology became more and more concentrated until what is only a fraction of the nation is the loudest voices in the party.
The bad news is that these radicals make up the staff of influential institutions, such as the media, celebrities, and academia. They hold power disproportionate to their percentage in society.
Furthermore, if push comes to shove, a small fraction of people can still do a lot of damage. There were only about 8 million, card carrying, goose stepping Nazis in Germany, and that the majority of Muslims don’t support terrorism.
Still, Germany invaded its neighbors and thousands of people have been killed in terrorist attacks.
Radicals have a way of dragging moderates around by the nose.
What we need to do is figure out how to keep this tiny percent out of positions of power. Eight in ten Americans don’t want their coffee or sneakers with a side of political correctness. Make management understand that millions of Tweets demanding some racial acquiescence is a small handful of potential consumers.
The message that needs to be pushed is “these people are not half the nation, the are an obnoxious fraction of it and listen to them at your own peril.”