A few months ago, Jamelle Bouie of Slate detailed the results of an MTV survey on millennials and race. He thus summarized the findings:
“Overall, MTV comfirms the general view of millennials: Compared with previous generations, they’re more tolerant and diverse and profess a deeper commitment to equality and fairness. At the same time, however, they’re committed to an ideal of colorblindness that leaves them uncomfortable with race, opposed to measures to reduce racial inequality, and a bit confused about what racism is.”
The second sentence made my heart sink. I think I have a distorted view of how millennials understand race, as most of my friends have a solid grasp on how past injustices have created present inequities and how racism continues to manifest in our society, even as the overtly hostile kind declines. So reading that the majority of my generation actually doesn’t understand those things — and believes that colorblindness is not only a real possibility, but also the ideal solution for our race problems — felt like a sucker-punch to the gut.
So, inspired by Rachel Held Evans’ recent post on why we need feminism, here are just a few reasons why race still matters.