Remember how all we needed to do to end racism was wait for all the racist old people to die? Looks like that plan isn’t quite as bulletproof as we originally thought; surveys are showing that millennials are just as racist as their stupid, racist parents and grandparents.
I know this will come as a shock, seeing as how no one under the age of 35 has done anything racist, ever—but yes, it’s true. The Washington Post looked at data from NORC’s 2010, 2012 and 2014 General Social Survey and found that younger generations aren’t becoming significantly more tolerant. I guess all those interracial relationships and cute mixed children aren’t quite doing the trick in terms of curing a deep, systematic problem.
When it comes to explicit prejudice against blacks, non-Hispanic white millennials are not much different than whites belonging to Generation X (born 1965-1980) or Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). White millennials (using a definition of being born after 1980) express the least prejudice on 4 out of 5 measures in the survey, but only by a matter of 1 to 3 percentage points, not a meaningful difference. On work ethic, 31 percent of millennials rate blacks as lazier than whites, compared to 32 percent of Generation X whites and 35 percent of Baby Boomers.
Now, nobody is saying that most or all millennials are racist, but it is, as the Washington Post describes it, a substantial minority of white millennials.
Just under a quarter believes blacks are less intelligent, while fewer express opposition to interracial marriage or living in a 50-percent black neighborhood. Holding these attitudes is not the same as making racist comments in public or even among close friends, but there’s clearly an audience for race-based judgment among the Millennial generation.
And therein lies the problem. There is this mistaken belief that the racists are people running around screaming “nigger” or making tacky jokes about Mexicans. Frankly, I would prefer to interact with a person or system with a clear, known bias, as opposed to someone who who feels the exact same way deep down but thinks they’re not racist. Sure, they might think black people are lazier and dumber than white people, but they totally have black friends of a certain educational class and so like, what’s the problem?
This is exactly how you end up with situations like that idiot SAE frat brother Parker Rice from the University of Oklahoma, who seriously declared in a press conference decorated with back people that he never thought of himself as racist, even though he ran around singing a song about gleefully hanging niggers from trees. If that’s what progress is supposed to look like, then you can keep it.
The takeaway: Millennials are not quite as racist as their parents and grandparents who resisted desegregation and voting rights. But still, pretty racist.
Image via Universal Studios.
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