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American Teens Identify The Major Issue in America…Racism

12 May

Interesting survey on the changing opinions of America’ youth. The murders, and subsequent inaction or failure of the jusdicial system int the Trayvon Martin case, Michel Brown, and others have had a major impact on the view of how much racism still exists in America – and it’s impact.

WHAT DO AMERICAN TEENS WANT? LESS RACISM

In 1966, Newsweek published a landmark cover story, “The Teen-Agers: A Newsweek Survey of What They’re Really Like,” investigating everything from politics and pop culture to teens’ views on their parents, their future and the world. The article was based on an extensive survey of nearly 800 teens across the country, and it also profiled six teens in depth, including a black teen growing up in Chicago, a Malibu girl, and a farm boy in Iowa. Fifty years later, Newsweek set out to discover what’s changed and what’s stayed the same for American teens. The result, “The State of the American Teenager,” offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that’s plugged in, politically aware, and optimistic about their futures, yet anxious about their country.

…This past fall, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of “The Teen-Agers,” Newsweek enlisted Harris Poll to conduct an online survey replicating key questions in the original work and to expand on it. We asked 2,057 teens, ages 13 to 17, from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas, about everything from politics and education to parents, sex, mental health and pop culture. The result, “The State of the American Teenager,” offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that’s plugged in, politically aware, optimistic about their futures yet anxious about their country.

Two-thirds of teens (68 percent), for example, believe the United States is on the wrong track, and 59 percent think pop culture keeps the country from talking about the news that really matters. Faith in God or some other divine being dropped from 96 percent in 1966 to 83 percent. Twice as many teens today feel their parents have tried to run their lives too much (24 percent, up from 12 percent in 1966). Fifty years ago, the five most admired famous people were John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Lyndon B. Johnson and Helen Keller, in that order. Today, pop culture rules, as President Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé top the list, with Selena Gomez tying Abraham Lincoln for fourth place.

More than half of teens support gun control (55 percent), the death penalty (52 percent), abortion rights (50 percent) and gay marriage (62 percent). (On her support of gay marriage, Allison Moseley, 16, of Cudahy, Wisconsin, says, “Love is love.”)

The most compelling findings show that race and discrimination are crucial issues for teens today. In 1966, 44 percent of American teens thought racial discrimination would be a problem for their generation. Now, nearly twice as many—82 percent—feel the same way. The outlook is more alarming among black teens: Ninety-one percent think discrimination is here to stay, up from 33 percent in 1966.

Recent headlines—police-involved shootings of unarmed black men, the Black Lives Matter movement, Donald Trump’s xenophobic politics—reveal a country deeply divided on race, with seemingly little hope for reconciliation. For many black Americans, the entire casino is stacked against them: They’re disproportionately affected by unemployment, poverty and lack of educational opportunities. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and while blacks and Latinos comprise 30 percent of the population, they account for 58 percent of the prison population. In 2013, the wealth gap between whites and blacks reached its highest point since 1989, according to Pew Research Center: The wealth of white households was 13 times that of black households, and 10 times that of Hispanic households.

Newsweek found that black teens today are more likely than white or Hispanic teens to be aware of gun violence and of police officers accused of killing innocent people. They’re also more likely to worry that they’ll be the victims of shootings—at school, by police or in places of worship. And m any teens, regardless of race or ethnicity, perceive that black Americans are discriminated against at higher rates than others, including the way they’re treated by police (62 percent) and their ability to access decent jobs (39 percent)….More Here

 
 

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