Last night I read an article, “Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture” in the Atlantic, originally published in October, 2018, reporting on a study about Americans’ view of PC Culture. 8000 people participated in the study. The article had no “angle.” It was just a report. The upshot of the report is that most Americans — the very large cross-culture and cross-color majority — feel uncomfortable with PC Culture. This vast majority is made up of people of all races and earns less than $50K/year. Of the various “political tribes” that emerged from the study, the “tribe” that embraced PC Culture (which is, at best, an amorphous term) most passionately has been labeled “Progressive Activists,” a group predominantly white, earning more than $100k/year with post-graduate degrees. It is a very small percentage of the population and an objective “elite.” The author of the article is part of that elite.
It’s possible to draw a lot of conclusions from this article. One easy (and, IMO wrong) is that cultural sensitivity (which isn’t, IMO, reflected by PC Culture) increases with affluence and education. The conclusion I drew is that the group of people that has (beyond race) the most in common is out there in the “trenches” working shoulder-by-shoulder every day. That group feels uncomfortable with PC Culture. One native-American respondent said he worried all the time that he would get something wrong and offend someone. What are the repercussions of that? I don’t know. I suppose that might depend on the context of his life, his job or maybe simply his personality.
The author — Yacha Mounk, a German/American political writer and professor who is studying the rise of populism throughout the world — doesn’t hide his biases. It’s clear that the study has made him question what he thought he knew to be true. This struck me particularly:
“…while 80 percent of Americans believe that political correctness has become a problem in the country, even more, 82 percent, believe that hate speech is also a problem.https://getpocket.com/explore/item/americans-strongly-dislike-pc-culture?utm_source=pocket-newtab
It turns out that while progressive activists tend to think that only hate speech is a problem, and devoted conservatives tend to think that only political correctness is a problem, a clear majority of all Americans holds a more nuanced point of view: They abhor racism. But they don’t think that the way we now practice political correctness represents a promising way to overcome racial injustice.”
It made me think of the day of the Rodney King riots back in 1992 and the numerous signs I saw all over town as I drove home to my ghetto house in a very mixed neighborhood, signs saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” That day I took a walk at a nearby lake with my dogs. I saw a black couple I’d often seen on my walks and sometimes we nodded to each other to say, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen you before, you must live in the hood,” but we never spoke. That day we stopped and looked at each other a long time, tears in all of our eyes. That encounter ended in a big, three-way hug. The man said, “When are we going to be able to stop worrying about the color of someone’s skin?”
“I wish I knew,” I thought that day and think today.
My personal feeling is that people just want to get along with each other and the study seems to indicate the same thing. I got the message from some of the comments made by focus group members that people (of all cultures and colors) would rather just go to work, do their jobs, get along with their co-workers, pick up their pay check and go home than worry about whether they have gotten the latest progressive liberal mandated term for a group of human beings who — accidentally — have skin of a different color. Personally, I believe actions speak louder than words and its how we treat each other on a daily basis that matters the most, whatever we call each other.
I also think that DJT’s race baiting is a dangerous stunt that is designed to keep us distracted from bigger issues like the national debt, health insurance, poor schools, etc. But that’s a different blog post and I’m not likely to write it.