White Millennials Are a Failed Experiment in Color Blindness

Posted on Mon 06 April 2015 in Dispatches • 2 min read

Interesting piece from PBS that makes a strong case that while Millennials have been raised to be more inclusive of diversity, the framework in which they’ve been instructed blinds them to the systemic racism present in our society.

For one, movements toward racial justice have always attracted a sliver of the young white population with a disposition geared toward radical politics. They are not necessarily representative of their entire generation. Furthermore, with respect to this particular generation, the Millennials, the education these young white people have received have left them ill-equipped to understand the nature of racism and subsequently supplied them analysis that won’t address the problem. As children of the multi-cultural 1980s and 90s, Millennials are fluent in colorblindness and diversity, while remaining illiterate in the language of anti-racism. This may not be the end of the world, if weren’t for the fact that Millennials don’t know the difference between the two.

Mychal Denzel Smith, White Millennials are a Failed Experiment in Color Blindness

I’ve certainly seen plenty of well-meaning people claiming that racism isn’t a factor any more, or at least that it’s been superseded by other factors such as social class. My response has always been that they need to spend some time traveling around America and see the prevalence of racism even now. Failing that, read more and more about it, and talk about what you learn.

As with combating sexism, one of the most radical first steps you can take is to actually listen to those affected. If you have a sense of justice, as I believe most people do, once you start listening, the next steps become more obvious.