Survey finds deep concerns among young people of color about crim justice and gun violence

A new survey released today highlights how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of the country's most diverse generation by exploring the most critical and timely political, social, and economic issues impacting the United States. The GenForward survey is from the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

"There are tremendous racial and ethnic disparities when it comes to 's experiences with and reactions to brutality," said Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science and founder of the Black Youth Project and GenForward survey at the University of Chicago. "Nearly three-quarters of young African American adults believe that the killing of black people by the police is an extremely serious problem, compared with just a quarter of young whites. Indeed, fully 45 percent of young African Americans say that police brutality is one of the three most important problems facing America today."

The survey also found that Asian Americans, Latino/as, and whites are more likely to view the June 2016 shooting at the Florida nightclub as terrorism than say the same about the June 2015 shooting at a South Carolina church. The study similarly found that 76 percent of African Americans, 73 percent of Latino/as, 66 percent of Asian Americans, and 57 percent of whites say verdicts in the cases related to Freddie Gray's death give them less faith in the criminal justice system.

Some of the key findings from the nationally representative survey of young people age 18-30 taken July 9-20, 2016, include:

  • Young African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/as, age 18-30, continue to favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump and have a more favorable opinion of the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. Young whites are divided between the candidates and have mixed views of both parties.
  • Young African Americans are more likely than other young people to have experienced police harassment and to believe that the police killings of is a very serious problem. Majorities of young people of all races and ethnicities believe violence against police is a serious problem in the United States.
  • Among young people, gun ownership and experiences with gun violence vary across racial and ethnic groups, and young African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos/as are more likely to prioritize gun control over gun ownership rights.
  • Most young people of all races and ethnicities favor LGBT rights and protections, and the support for such policies has increased in the last two years, especially among young whites.

"In the wake of mass shootings and continuing in cities across the country, the issue is a top concern for many young people," said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. "We find that majorities of young African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos believe it is more important to control than to protect the right to own guns, while a majority of young whites take the opposite stance."

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Citation: Survey finds deep concerns among young people of color about crim justice and gun violence (2016, August 22) retrieved 3 March 2021 from
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