Chamblee54

The MTV Survey On Millenials And Race

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on May 19, 2014

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A popular link on facebook these days is to an article in Slate magazine, Why Do Millennials Not Understand Racism? It is written by Jamelle Bouie, and is based on the MTV Survey on Millenials and Race. Mr. Bouie does not like the results of this study.

One question might be why he is paying attention to the study. The results are broken down in two groups, white and POC. The study was conducted in English. The respondents were 14-24 years old, with the under 18 crowd needing parental permission. Only people who watch MTV were interviewed.

Some questions asked about “microaggressions” … “brief and commonplace actions or words that are subtle examples of bias. Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional, and often communicate negative feelings towards people of color.” POC report having more problems with microaggressions than white people. One possible reason for this is the fact many white people have never heard of microaggressions. The use of words like this is one reason for using English only.

Mr. Bouie makes a few broad comments. Remember, he is talking about a group of MTV watchers. “More jarring is the 48 percent of white millennials who say discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities. … there’s no doubt that a substantial plurality of young white people believe their race is a disadvantage, which is ludicrous given the small number who say that they’ve felt excluded because of their race (10 percent) or say that they’ve been hurt by racial offenses (25 percent). But while this reaction doesn’t seem to have a basis in reality, it makes perfect sense given what millennials writ large believe about racism.”

Maybe this is white privilege. Many white people are not sensitive to being discriminated against. What is a microaggression to one person is a rude comment (or misunderstood look) to another.

The way the survey was worded might have something to do with it. The questionnare is not included in the report. The study does not go into the family income, or level of education in the family. The only breakdown is white vs. POC.

When a person gets on a roll, it is tough to stop. The rhetorical snowball rolls down the slope, getting bigger and bigger as it heads to the bottom. “From these results, it’s clear that—like most Americans—millennials see racism as a matter of different treatment, justified by race, that you solve by removing race from the equation. If we ignore skin color in our decisions, then there can’t be racism …. The problem is that racism isn’t reducible to “different treatment.” … 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.”

Holy social scientist Batman. Who is this we? Most people never hear about a black (POC) teenage in his encounter with the police. Is it fair or unfair? Is it because of the color of his skin, or the 911 call that started the encounter? Yes, some police may target POC unfairly, and that is an issue to address. Runaway rhetoric by the likes of Jamelle Bouie does not help.

Maybe this is another case of the younger generation being misunderstood by the old fogeys. The study makes the shaky claim that “The majority of millennials believe that their generation is post-racial.” Perhaps … and this just might be a good thing … there are people coming along who are more interested in solving problems, than in worrying whether the problem affects white people more than POC. Maybe, just maybe, the divide and conquer tactics of the ruling class are being seen as the foolish distractions that they are. Those who enjoy screaming about racism might find themselves obsolete in a few years. This might not be such a bad thing.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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One Response

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  1. […] might find themselves obsolete in a few years. This might not be such a bad thing. This is a repost. Some text has been edited out of this edition. It is available in the original, and in the source […]


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