Saaret E. Yoseph – Gen Y and the Colorblind Lie:
. . . Millennials like myself are often steeped just as deep in the troubles of race as generations before us. This isn’t to say that advancements haven’t been made. Civil rights, career options for minorities and intercultural dynamics have no doubt improved in America since my parents’ day. But progress in regard to race is not linear—it never has been and never will be. Every generation has different ways of dealing with the rainbow-colored elephant in the room; influenced, no doubt, by previous eras, but distinct in its own right. We Gen Y’ers, born between 1978-1997, handle race with our own brand of complexity. . .
. . . Los Angeles Times writer Rosa Brooks discussed the impact of race on my generation in her January 2008 piece, “Sex, Race and Gen Y Voters.” Brooks explains:
“[Younger] Americans just don’t think about race in the same simplistic ways [as Americans over 40]. They’re more likely than older Americans to be minorities themselves, for one thing. In 2006, only 19.8 percent of Americans over 60 were minorities, compared with about 40 percent of Americans under the age of 40. And younger minorities come from a far wider range of racial and ethnic backgrounds than their older counterparts.”
So, we’re mixing more than ever. That’s for sure. But diversity doesn’t necessarily equate to cultural understanding. Gen Y’ers often deal with race in an overt, in-your-face manner through jokes, stereotypical references and cultural tourism. David Tarrant hit these complications dead-on in his January 2006 article for the Dallas Morning News, “Should Race Still Matter to Gen Y?” . . .
. . . Note: Knowing every line of a Lil’ Wayne song does not mean you know the black experience. The black experience cannot be defined one-dimensionally, especially not in the lyrics of a single track. Neither can the Latino experience, or the Asian experience or the white experience. Yet, somehow my peers and I feel more comfortable skimming the surface rather than sitting down for an honest discussion about race. . .