Youth movement

first_imgThe baby boom is echoing loud and clear, with today’s young people worried about the future of the American family, along with violence and poverty in their neighborhoods, says a survey being released today. In one of the first-ever polls conducted entirely by cell phone, the survey of 601 California teens and young adults found an unprecedented ethnic mix that cites marriage and parenthood as life goals, has deep concerns about family stability and, like their parents and grandparents, yearns for the American dream. “They’re glued to cell phones, but high technology is not giving them the relationships that come from family and social structures that hold people together,” said Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, which conducted the survey. “They yearn for connection and community, and I think it’s where the cultural continuum is going to move.” Researchers said the 16- to 22-year-olds surveyed are part of the most diverse generation to emerge in the nation – which is reflected in their relaxed attitudes about race, their own identities and immigration status. Deniko Santos, 20, of Los Angeles said he has strong cultural ties to his Filipino family, but that it’s his passions that define his identity. “Music is a big thing,” he said. “I play basketball, I go to church twice a week. The things that I do reflect who I am, and my background has a lot to do with it, the way my family raised me.” Dennis Trochez, 21, said Los Angeles’ diverse population makes it virtually impossible to have racist attitudes. “I was always taught don’t judge people right away; it’s all about the person. Every race has its good and bad. At the end of the day, it’s not what they look like, it’s about what they do, their actions,” said Trochez, who was born in Honduras and now lives in Stevenson Ranch. “The United States is a mixture of everybody.” And with 87 percent of respondents saying they’d be open to marrying someone of a different race, the researchers concluded that the nature of “race” may be forever altered. “This is a post-minority generation that grew up in a global society that’s more diverse on a scale we’ve never seen before in the U.S.,” Close said. “They reflect a sophistication around race and ethnicity that I think is far ahead of the country. “It’s a curious juxtaposition of a yearning for traditional structures, yet a very post-modern, post-minority sensibility when it comes to issues about race and ethnicity.” The results reflect what Stanford University assistant professor Anthony Antonio called the “diversity learning curve of the nation.” “Issues of cultural diversity and multiculturalism, and not only appreciation or toleration of differences, but exploration of difference, are things that predominate our culture and our experience,” he said. “It’s not surprising that young people are valuing cultures that are different from their own.” Embracing marriage The survey was undertaken by New America Media, a California-based umbrella group of ethnic news organizations. Pollsters interviewed 601 respondents between Oct. 6 and Nov. 15, offering each $10 to cover cell-phone expenses. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Questions touched on their self-image and also included the state of their mental and physical health, their views on the military and illegal immigration, and their future plans for the future. According to the survey, 89 percent of respondents said they were somewhat or very likely to marry and have children, 73 percent believe they’ll have a higher standard of living than their parents and a whopping 96 percent believe they can achieve their goals through hard work. In addition, 82 percent favor allowing illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens and 68 percent oppose the Iraq war. School and money are their top worries, with music and fashion their most defining characteristics, followed by religion, ethnicity, race and personality. But Antonio cautioned that while the results are interesting, the results should be reviewed carefully because of the age of the respondents. “A part of me says, don’t panic, you’re catching people in transition here, trying to figure themselves out in relation to society and the world,” Antonio said. “It would be too easy to say the next generation is going to be a highly fashion-conscious yet culturally celebratory group of people just because that aspect of their identity seems to be important right now.” MediaNews Sacramento Bureau reporter Steve Geissinger contributed to this report. naush.boghossian (818) 713-3722 What is your current educational goal? Graduate from high school 9% Graduate from 2-year college 10% Graduate from 4-year university 36% Get a master’s degree 24% Get a doctorate 8% Something else 3% Don’t have one 5% Specific certification/technical degree 2%160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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