More than half of Americans think the “cultural justice” movement that’s gained steam over the past year has a “long way to go” in terms of the kinds of social change that will “really change” the world, according to a new poll.
The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted between June 5 and June 14, found that 56 percent of Americans support “cultural appropriation,” a term coined in 2013 to describe actions that involve the appropriation of one culture over another.
In response to the question, “What do you think is cultural justice?” a majority of Americans — 53 percent — said “cultural assimilation,” a label that is more widely used to describe how the “American way of life” has been “colonized by others.”
However, a majority (54 percent) of Americans also said they were “critical of the way society treats minorities,” with 44 percent saying they felt “very critical.”
“I think people are starting to realize that cultural assimilation is a way of thinking about the world that doesn’t fit in with what we’re told is ‘America’s way of being,'” said Joshua Raskin, co-director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Raskin said that “cultural inclusion” can often be seen as an ideological position that allows for the marginalization of groups of people in society who aren’t “good enough” for America.
“That’s a really important issue, but we can do better than that,” he said.
The Pew survey also found that “critical” is more than just a political position, and that most people said they “strongly” agreed with the statement that “there is no right or wrong way to be a white person.”
But even with these beliefs, “critical is not a position that people embrace, and it’s not an identity that we can all adopt,” Raskins said.
“Critical is just one way to think about the way we’re being treated, but it’s also a way to feel like the world isn’t fair,” he added.
“We are the dominant species in this planet, and we have a responsibility to take responsibility for how we treat others,” Rasks said.
And even though many people are “critical,” there are also “cultural allies,” which includes people who are “in the middle of it.”
While “critical allies” are often marginalized in the movement, they can be part of the solution.
“There’s a lot of people that have embraced it,” Ranske said.
“They are the ones who are in the middle.
They are the people who can actually start moving towards change.”
While it’s difficult to quantify the extent of the shift in Americans’ attitudes toward cultural assimilations, Raskinos views it as a shift that is “a lot more widespread than people think.”
“We have to do better,” he emphasized.
“It’s just so easy to say ‘all this is happening and that’s it,’ ” he said, “but it’s the truth.”
Raskins noted that people tend to “reject the idea of cultural justice” in order to be more “politically correct” — a notion that is often used to justify the status quo in society.
“When people say ‘we have to accept this and move on,’ that is what happens,” Rinske said, adding that the “resistance” is often “a little bit more superficial.”
“You have to be in a position to understand that it’s an existential crisis that we have to fight for,” he noted.
But while many people agree that “we have a long way to move,” Rakeske said “critical people” can help bring change.
“I would say the critical people are the one group of people who have been in the forefront for a while,” he observed.
“It’s been a really good conversation.
There are a lot more people who feel the same way as we do.”
The poll found that 54 percent of those who identified as “critical supporters” felt they were most at risk of becoming a victim of “cultural imperialism.”
And while just 28 percent of the “critical-supportive” people said that they are “very likely” to be targeted, that number rose to 45 percent among those who “criticized” those who would be targeted.
“In a lot that is happening, the idea that people are being marginalized and attacked for ‘cultural assimilation’ is still really prevalent,” Raska said.
That’s one of the main reasons why the movement for “cultural genocide” has become so powerful, Raska continued.
“The way people feel is being targeted,” he stressed.
“The idea that ‘this is our fault’ and ‘this isn’t our fault.'”
“That has been a way for some people to feel more comfortable about [their] position in society,” Rasking said.
Raska, Rinskes, and Raskino noted that the movement to “cultural assimilate” is far from