According to a new poll, young people are divided concerning race in America. Around 80% of African Americans youth ages 18-30 believe that racism remains a major problem, while only 54% of young Whites agree that this is an issue. While a slight majority of young whites surveyed do agree that race is a major issue, this data suggests a wide gap remains between black and white youth’s perceptions of racism. 

These findings are take from the June GenForward Survey which is conducted monthly by researchers at The Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey has assessed over 1750 young adults on their political attitudes on topics ranging from their 2016 vote choice to immigration and race.

The findings on attitudes about racism indicates that a majority of black American youth have a real sense of urgency that only a little over half of young white Americans share.  Asian American and Latino respondents also were more likely than white youth to believe that racism is a major problem in society, polling at 64% and 74% respectively. Clearly, young people of color have a different understanding of racism as an issue.

The GenForward poll was taken before the killing of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas police officers last week. According to USA Today, these events, and events like them, such as the death of Freddy Gray last summer, spike Americans’ likelihood to say that racism is a problem in the United States. A new NBC/ Survey Monkey Poll conducted from July 4th, 2016 to July 10, 2016 demonstrates that over 50% of American registered voters think racial discrimination is a very serious problem.

Likely, the issue has suddenly become very salient in this election cycle in the minds of voters due to last week’s extensively covered police killings and deaths. In any case, hopefully addressing racism becomes an important issue for all Americans, and not just people of color.


Photo Credits: Flickr, Hollow Sidewalks

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