Black Youth Project is one of 25 universities and research centers that are funding a new effort to study opportunity and empowerment for women and girls of color.
By: Jesse Holland
WASHINGTON (AP) — Years before the high-profile deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, more than half of African-American millennials indicated they, or someone they knew, had been victimized by violence or harassment from law enforcement, a new report says.
On Wednesday, the Black Youth Project released its first ever report on Black Millennials entitled “Black Millennials in America” survey data. The project is dedicated to providing a more nuanced understanding of the lived experiences and political attitudes of Black Millennials. We believe that black lives matter and that we must represent the complexity of black lives at this moment.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown’s murder by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri has focused the nation’s attention on racial disparities in the law enforcement system. Brown’s case is not an isolated incident. Along with Brown, the cases of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis in Florida and, more recently, Eric Garner in New York and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, all tell stories of how unarmed Black men became victims of police forces charged with serving and protecting their communities and are then denied justice by the legal system.
- More Black (80.2%) and Latino (74.9%) youth believe the marriage equality movement has taken too much attention away from other important LGBT issues compared to white youth (64.0%).
- More Black youth (58.0%) believe that LGBT issues in communities of color are not well-represented by mainstream LGBT organizations than Latino (45.9%) and white youth (42.7%).
- More than a third (35.0%) of Black youth reported that HIV/AIDS is the single most important issue for LGBT organizations to address. Latino youth reported that bullying (20.1%) is the most important issue, while white youth (21.3%) reported that same-sex marriage is the most important issue.
- Young people of color are more supportive of policies that would provide sensitivity training for police around transgender issues (77.8% and 73.2%, respectively) and require health insurers to provide coverage for transgender health issues (64.5% and 65.8%, respectively) than white youth (66.2% and 56.3%, respectively).
Next week, the first round of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will close until October. Policymakers and pundits have speculated about how young people will respond to the ACA general, and the individual mandate in particular. The success of the ACA depends in part on the willingness of young people to either sign up for health coverage, or pay the penalty. We are one of the few organizations to collect data from a nationally representative sample of young people to investigate what young people really think about the ACA.
In this report, we discuss the findings from a national survey we conducted in January 2014 of 1,500 young people under the age of 30. We find the following:
- More than 80 percent of Black youth approve of the ACA compared with 51.8 percent of Latino youth and 34.0 percent of white youth.
- Black youth support the individual mandate at higher rates (41.4 percent) than either Latino youth (33.4 percent) or white youth (9.4 percent).
- Black youth (9.5 percent) and Latino youth (7.7 percent) reported they signed up for coverage under the ACA at more than double the rate of white youth (3.5 percent).
- Among the uninsured, 70 percent of Black youth reported they planned to sign up.
The verdicts in the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis cases have focused increased attention on racial disparities in the American justice system, and according to The BYP’s latest memo, nearly three-quarters of Black Youth believe the legal system does not treat all groups equally, a rate considerably higher than that for white and Latino youth.
Similarly, only about 60 percent of Black youth report feeling like full and equal citizens with all the same rights and protections as everyone else, compared with 64.1 percent of Latino youth and 72.9 percent of white youth.
The findings come from a survey of 1,500 young people ages 18 to 29 to gauge their attitudes toward the legal system and examine to what degree they feel fully protected under the law.
What do such feelings of distrust and political alienation mean for the functioning of our democracy? Please read the full report to find out.
In August 2013, North Carolina enacted one of the nation’s most comprehensive reforms of the voting process. Under the new law, early voting will be reduced, Election Day-registration will be eliminated, and every voter will have to produce government-issued identification. These reforms are likely to have disproportionate effects on young people of color; shortening the early voting period is likely to significantly reduce turnout among Black youth, while the elimination of Election Day-registration is likely to have especially negative effects on turnout among young Latinos, and the photo ID requirement may significantly reduce turnout among all young of color.
Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, such laws would have been subject to preclearance from the Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department is suing North Carolina in federal court to block implementation of the law; however, last week, it was announced that the lawsuit will not be heard until 2015, after the 2014 midterm elections.
In the latest BYP memo, researchers consider the possible effects of these new restrictions on voter turnout, focusing specifically on young people of color.