MTV Surveyed Millennials On Racism & The Results Are Actually Pretty Optimistic

Millennials have optimistic views about eradicating racial bias, according to a new survey conducted this year. MTV Strategic Insights and David Binder Research sought the views of thousands of young people aged 14 to 24 through interviews, focus groups, online panels and surveys.

The survey portrayed detailed and fascinating picture of how young people approach racism in 2014. Even though the results reveal that we have serious work left to do in creating a society with minimal racial bias, they’re largely optimistic because the young people surveyed are actively concerned and aware of the issues they’re facing. Millennials want something better in the future and are seemingly committed to working toward it.

There are a lot of facts to consider, but all in all, we can boil the findings down to the fact that millennials are growing up in a racially sensitive world. In fact, the majority of them believe they’re part of a post-racial generation. Millenials also find that the subtle, subversive racism they experience in their everyday world starkly contrasts with the ideals of equality in their heads. They want to openly talk about this to create a forum for change, but don’t know how, particularly because many in this generation werw raised to believe that discussing race is impolite.

If you’re in the mood for some numbers, here are a few of MTV’s findings:

  • 89 percent of surveyed millennials believe everyone should be treated the same, regardless of their race.
  • Only 37 percent of the interviewees were raised in families that talked about race, but 84 percent say their families taught them that everyone should be treated the same regardless of race.
  • 54 percent would love to have a respectful conversation about bias, but at the same time, 79 percent worry that calling out bias when they see it will either cause a conflict or make the situation worse.
  • 91 percent believe that everyone should be treated equally.
  • 72 percent believe that millennials have a stronger belief in equality than older people.
  • 58 percent believe that as their generation takes on more leadership roles, racism will become less of an issue.
  • 67 percent saw President Obama’s election as a sign that race does not have to be a barrier to accomplishments, but 67 percent also believe that America is still deeply divided.
  • The majority believe that colorblindness is an aspirational goal.
  • 70 percent say they don’t see racial minority groups any differently than they see white people.
  • 81 percent believe embracing diversity would improve society.
  • Only 33 percent of minority millennials felt that their race was represented well in the media.
  • 45 percent of minority participants have been personally hurt by microaggressions and 43 percent feel that their race was the first thing people notice when they meet them.
  • 60 percent said that most of the bias in their world is subtle, but the majority see it as very negatively impactful despite its subtlety.
  • 94 percent have seen examples of bias in their own lives, and many are friends with people who have major biases
  • Many also harbor biases of their own, and said they’re working to eliminate them
  • 61 percent said they have been the target of a bias.
  • 65 percent of young people wished they knew more about how to address bias when they see it and the majority would want to be made aware if they had biases within themselves that they weren’t noticing.
  • The majority of young people also say that they would want to join a campaign that aims to start a conversation around bias.

What are your thoughts on the findings of this study? Let us know in the comments.

[Clutch Magazine]
[MTV Strategic Insights/David Binder Research (PDF)]

[Image of a fistbump via Shutterstock]