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In America’s children, we often see hope for a better future, especially when it comes to reducing racism.
Each new generation of white people, the thinking goes, will naturally and inevitably be more open-minded and tolerant than previous ones.
Reason - Today - Kids - Society - Racist
But do we have any reason to believe this? Should we have faith that today’s white kids will help make our society less racist and more equitable?
Previous research has had mixed findings. So in order to explore more fully what white kids think about race, I went straight to the source: white children themselves.
Book - White - Kids - Privilege - Racially
In my new book, “White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America,” I explore how 36 white, affluent kids think and talk about race, racism, privilege and inequality in their everyday lives.
Before beginning my research, I looked at what previous studies on the racial attitudes of young white people had found.
Researchers - Reason
According to some researchers, we do have reason to be hopeful.
Using survey data, they found that young white people are expressing less prejudice than generations before them. For instance, white support for segregated schools – a traditional measure of racial prejudice – has dramatically decreased over a 50-year period. And surveys show that younger whites are less likely to express racial stereotypes than older whites.
Group - Researchers - Whites - Today - Prejudice
But a second group of researchers disagreed. They found that whites today simply articulate racial prejudice in new ways.
For example, according to national survey data, high school seniors are increasingly expressing a form of prejudice that sociologist Tyrone Forman calls “racial apathy” – an “indifference toward societal, racial, and ethnic inequality and lack of engagement with race-related social issues.”
Apathy - Form - Prejudice - Articulations - Bigotry
Racial apathy is a more passive form of prejudice than explicit articulations of bigotry and racial hostility. But such apathy can nonetheless lead white people to support policies and practices that align with the same...
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