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:: By Lydialyle Gibson

:: Graphic by Allen Carroll

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Investigations ::


Young, black, and surveyed

In numbers equal to whites and Hispanics, 79 percent of African American youths believe in the power of political involvement, and three in four consider themselves smart and skilled enough to participate in politics. Yet 56 percent say government leaders care little about “people like them,” and nearly half believe the government treats most immigrants better than blacks.

So reported Chicago political scientist Cathy Cohen in a study released this February. Surveying 1,590 white, Hispanic, and black Americans ages 15–25, she probed their views on politics, sex, music, health, and racial attitudes. Young African Americans, she found, straddled difficult dualities, feeling both optimistic and discouraged. Although 58 percent listen to rap music daily, for example, that same number of black males and 66 percent of black females call rap videos’ portrayal of women “bad” and “offensive.” Most African American youths also agreed that many videos contain too many references to sex and violence.

graphic: fig1