The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose political correctness. A recent survey of 8,000 Americans reveals that people of all ages, races, and educational levels oppose it by lopsided margins. None of the demographic categories presumed to be aligned with it, or to fall within its protective embrace, actually support it. Three out of 4 black people, 2 out of 3 people with postgraduate degrees, and 78% of people under the age of 24 all regard political correctness as a problem. While 79% of white people oppose political correctness, it is Asians (82%), Hispanics (87%), and American Indians (88%) who are most likely to be resistant to it.
The findings are as encouraging as they are distressing. They are encouraging because they affirm something that no one with a glancing familiarity with the character of the American public has had any cause to doubt. People long habituated to freedom of conscience and speech instinctively dislike attempts to place restrictions on them. A regime of policing speech and thought for adherence to an unprincipled, logically incoherent, and ever-changing array of progressive nostrums will always be unpopular everywhere, but especially so here.
The study demonstrates that the opponents of political correctness are not primarily the followers of Donald Trump. Nor are they in any significant sense the alt-right, a ragbag of at most a few thousand malcontents in a country of 350 million, who have been falsely magnified into a ludicrous simulacrum of a real social force. They are not predominantly the remnants of a dying white America brainwashed by Fox News. They are not a pitiable collection of angry white males—ruddy, be-Dockered, pale, stale, males left behind by the times—clinging to their dwindling privileges in an ever more vibrant and diverse America.
PC’s opponents are a portrait of rainbow-coalition America itself—people of all ages and all colors protective of their liberties, who sense instinctively who is really at the core of the politically correct movement and oppose the ideas and motives that animate it. This diverse America is of course fundamentally at odds with the Fox News crowd and the Trumpists. But they have no more love for their would-be saviors among the politically correct, who rule through fear inspired by legalistic threats and social media mobs.
The political scientist Yascha Mounk, writing in The Atlantic, quotes one 40-year-old American Indian from Oklahoma:
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.