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Millennials, racism, and MTV poll: Young people are confused about bias, prejudice, and racism.


Stashed in: Young Americans, That's racist!, MTV

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The problem is that racism isn’t reducible to “different treatment.” Since if it is, measures to ameliorate racial inequality—like the Voting Rights Act—would be as “racist” as the policies that necessitated them. No, racism is better understood as white supremacy—anything that furthers a broad hierarchy of racist inequity, where whites possess the greatest share of power, respect, and resources, and blacks the least.

And the magic of white supremacy is that its presence is obscured by the focus on race. When a black teenager is unfairly profiled by police, we say it’s “because of the color of his skin,” which—as a construction—avoids the racism at play, from the segregated neighborhood the officer patrols to the pervasive belief in black criminality that shapes our approach to crime. Likewise, it obscures the extent to which this isn’t just different treatment— it’s unequal treatment rooted in unequal conditions.

Millennials have grown up in a world where we talk about race without racism—or don’t talk about it at all—and where “skin color” is the explanation for racial inequality, as if ghettos are ghettos because they are black, and not because they were created. As such, their views on racism—where you fight bias by denying it matters to outcomes—are muddled and confused.

Which gets to the irony of this survey: A generation that hates racism but chooses colorblindness is a generation that, through its neglect, comes to perpetuate it.

I can relate to the confusion of young Americans.

It's hard to know WHO to get angry with, or WHAT specifically to do to enact change.

Not just change of society's attitudes, but change of the world we live in for the better.

All I can do is encourage good behavior and call into question bad values when I see them.

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