Racial issues continue to fester in America, but this has not instilled a sense of despair or hopelessness among Black millennials, a new study finds. In fact, researchers say they have found the opposite.
Data from a collaborative study conducted by the University of Texas and Hispanic advertising agency Richards/Lerma reveals that Black millennials are most optimistic about their future when compared to Hispanic, Asian and white millennials.
The study, titled “Millennials Deconstructed,” also has other fascinating findings about where millennials – young adults between the ages of 18-34 – who make up America’s most racially diverse generation in history, stand when it comes to having faith in the American dream and their ability to succeed in the future.
Researchers – who say the study was designed to decode the relationship millennials have with America – say some of the results were surprising, even noting in the report that “the data reached out and smacked us with untold cultural stories that challenge popular notions about each race and ethnicity.”
Researchers, who looked at over 1,000 respondents, say that Black millennials in particular show some of the study’s most interesting and counterintuitive discoveries, writing: “A reasonable person may expect to uncover a sense of despair, apathy, or hopelessness. In this case, a reasonable person would be wrong.”
“We found the opposite,” it continues. “With a heightened sense of control over their future, [Black millennials] have the most faith that their hard work will pay off.”
Pointing to the role of Black activists in calling out systemic racism and white privilege, researchers say some may interpret this as “showing disrespect for America, apathy, playing the victim [and/or] asking for handouts.”
Instead, rather than reporting feelings of neglect or disrespect, 83 percent of Black millennials say they are proud to be an American.
Although Black millennials (67 percent) are closely tied with Hispanic millennials (66 percent) in being less likely to say they are satisfied with life when compared to Asian (71 percent) and white (71 percent) millennials, most Black millennials (61 percent) hold on to a sense of hope and optimism rather than feelings of apathy.
“This suggests their vocalization of injustice isn’t at odds with respect for their nation,” the study says of Black millennials. “In fact, it’s possible their motivation to speak up is because of their national pride, because they hold their country to a high standard.”