Young People Believe Race Still Matters and Racism Continues to Impact Society
June 7, 2011 (New York, NY) – Applied Research Center, the nation’s leading think tank on racial justice, today releases a 40-page study and accompanying video on the racial attitudes of young people, whom many pollsters and commentators have prematurely labeled as "post-racial."
Although the “Millennial Generation” (born post-1980, ages 18-30) is the largest, most racially and ethnically diverse generation the US has ever known, it is clear that race continues to play a role in their lives.
“Contrary to widespread labeling of the millennial generation as 'post-racial,' young people actually see a lot of racial problems. Many are concerned that race continues to impact outcomes in society, and they want to talk about it," said ARC President & Executive Director Rinku Sen. "What's more, the gap in perception between how white millennials and millennials of color see race points to continued racial conflict, demonstrating how important these conversations are."
Study results are derived from a series of 16 focus groups in the Los Angeles area, in which ARC conducted in-depth discussions on race and racism in society with millennials of diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, educational, and ideological backgrounds. Video of some of the focus group participants expressing their perspectives, as well as excerpts from the discussions can be found here: http://arc.org/millennials/
Don’t Call Them “Post-racial”:
Millennials’ Attitudes on Race, Racism, and Key Systems in Our Society
Key findings include:
- Race matters – a large majority of young people assert that race is still a significant factor within various systems, such as criminal justice, education, employment, and immigration.
- Millennials are not monolithic – there are differences in how young people of different races and ethnicities view the extent and continued significance of racism in various systems of society.
- Racism is often defined in interpersonal terms – though most young people of color have little problem labeling an entire system as racist.
"Young people of color, and particularly those from low-income backgrounds, are typically underrepresented in traditional national surveys and polls. We conducted four in-depth focus groups each with African-American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, Latino, and white millennials, so the qualitative data in this study is particularly rich," said ARC Research Director Dominique Apollon. "The report really elevates the voices of the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in our nation's history, and we should be asking them more, not less about the racial disparities that continue to impact their lives and communities."
The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a racial justice think tank using media, research, and activism to promote solutions. ARC is the publisher of Colorlines.com, a daily news site offering award-winning reporting, analysis, and solutions to today’s racial justice issues. To coincide with the release of the Millennials study, Colorlines.com is publishing a multi-part series that includes essays, video, and an investigation on the innovative groups who are working with youth to get past simply looking at individual acts of racism.
"Young people are going to lead the country out of today's mess. We need to truly understand how racism shows up in their lives, rather than fantasize about them being post-racial," said Colorlines.com Editorial Director Kai Wright.
For more information or to interview ARC Research Director Dominique Apollon (Oakland, CA) or ARC President and Executive Director Rinku Sen (NYC), please contact Communications Manager Rebekah Spicuglia at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 290-2970.