Amid Rising Discrimination in the US, Young People Refuse to Stand Idle
In the United States today, the national climate is challenging many people’s freedoms and safety. How have young people experienced bias and prejudice over the last year?
MTV found answers in a new study, “Diversity, Division, Discrimination: The State of Young America,” released in partnership with the nonprofit and nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). This project involved a quantitative survey of over 2,000 people aged 15 to 24 in the US, along with eight qualitative focus groups. Here are key findings on discrimination:
For young people in the US today, discrimination is alive and well. A majority (70%) say that in the last 12 months, they have personally experienced or witnessed someone being treated unfairly because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, or religious beliefs. These behaviors hit close to home for many young people – 43% said friends or family had been subjected to them and 25% said they themselves were targeted.
Discrimination is on the rise for certain minority groups. A majority of young people believe that discrimination against Muslims (75%) and transgender people (56%) has increased in the last year. Almost half (47%) of all young Americans say black people are facing more discrimination. Among young black people, that percentage is significantly higher – 75% believe anti-black discrimination has risen. Among young Hispanic people, 59% say anti-Hispanic discrimination is up.
Those who have experienced discrimination are likely to believe it was intentional. Among young people who have been targeted or mistreated for any part of their identities, nearly six in ten (59%) say it was direct and purposeful.
Many feel unsafe as a result of discrimination – especially women. More than four in ten (43%) who have experienced discrimination say this treatment caused them to fear for their personal safety. This sentiment is much stronger among young women who have been targeted (49%) than among young men (32%).
Young people are stepping in and speaking up about discrimination. Half (49%) of those who have witnessed someone being targeted say they have personally intervened. In addition to this willingness to step in, they’re having conversations about bias with those closest to them. Over half of young people (55%) report that they’ve talked about prejudice more with family and friends in the last year.