OAKLAND, CA - Applied Research Center, a think tank on racial justice, today released a 40-page study on the racial attitudes of young people, whom many pollsters and commentators have labeled as "post-racial."
“Contrary to widespread labeling of the millennial generation (born post-1980, ages 18-30) 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.
Key findings of the study 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. ARC 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."
"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.