The Applied Research Center – Millennials Report


Millennials’ Attitudes on Race, Racism, and Key Systems in Our Society

The “Millennial Generation” (born post-1980, ages 18-30) is the largest, most racially and ethnically diverse generation the US has ever known. However, it is clear that race continues to play a role in their lives.

“Contrary to widespread labeling of the millennial generation as ‘post-racial,’ young people actually see a lot of racial problems. Many are concerned that race continues to impact outcomes in society, and they want to talk about it,” said ARC President & Executive Director Rinku Sen. “What’s more, the gap in perception between how white millennials and millennials of color see race points to continued racial conflict, demonstrating how important these conversations are.”

KEY FINDINGS of “Don’t Call Them ‘Post-racial’” include:

* Race matters – a large majority of young people assert that race is still a significant factor within various systems, such as criminal justice, education, employment, and immigration.

* Millennials are not monolithic – there are differences in how young people of different races and ethnicities view the extent and continued significance of racism in various systems of society.

* Racism is often defined in interpersonal terms – though most young people of color have little problem labeling an entire system as racist.

To coincide with the release of the Millennials study, is publishing a multi-part series that includes essays, video, and an investigation on the innovative groups and individuals who are working with youth to get past simply looking at individual acts of racism. “Young people are going to lead the country out of today’s mess. We need to truly understand how racism shows up in their lives, rather than fantasize about them being post-racial,” said Editorial Director Kai Wright.

Press release here. For more information or to interview ARC Research Director Dominique Apollon (Oakland, CA) or ARC President and Executive Director Rinku Sen (NY, NY), please contact Communications Manager Rebekah Spicuglia at or (415) 290-2970.


…On Housing Discrimination

I’m taking a class…in a very poor, Black neighborhood. It’s been a great learning experience for me. A classmate of mine worked for a mortgage company and said they are less likely to give someone a loan if they had a last name that was different. Or if they did have an American last name, then they felt more comfortable maybe letting them slide if they didn’t fit one of the other requirements. There are certain ways they can manipulate rules to treat people differently I guess. —Ed, 24, Filipino-American, part-time student, part-time product developer

…On Race and Class

There’s no way to say, “A + B = C”… It’s, like, super-nasty complicated. And that’s why we keep coming back to this “Is it race, is it class? What is it?” It’s both. —Pilar, 23, Latina graduate student

…On Criminal Justice

I work in the Marina del Rey, and, yes, they [whites] get pulled over too, but they don’t get approached the same. Not at all. I hear more people cussing out cops than anything that a cop has to say about the individual. “What the f*ck did you pull me over for!?!” And they know…they just did something stupid [with their car]! —Donnell, 24, African-American, part-time sales rep

Criminal justice [is] definitely [racist]. I mean, just in Arizona they passed that law [SB1070]. How’re they gonna do that? They’re gonna stop you because you look like you don’t belong? —Sofia, 21, Costa Rican American college student

…On Exceptionalism of President Obama

Well, I think this could be just an edge-case situation where…one time somebody from a minority group is elected. But if you look at Congress, it’s still like 99-percent old white men. I think that once we see more… minorities in all types of government, we can say that race doesn’t have that big of an effect anymore. Because right now we elected one half-black guy. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything in the long scheme of things.
—Courtney, 19, white college student

…On Education

I think students don’t have the same opportunity. If you look at segregated high schools—those schools are predominantly Black. There’s, like, probably, like, 1 percent white. And these are not equal opportunities. These schools do not have the same resources, same neighborhood support, and stuff. —Duc, 19, Vietnamese-American college student

Originally published here: