Travis Gosa, an expert on race relations, African American History and professor African American Studies at Cornell University, discusses evolving attitudes of young millennials and how such attitudes are evidenced by this weekend’s verdict in the Michael Dunn “loud music” trial in Florida.
“It isn’t just old white men and the Tea Party who seem mad as heck. Recent studies and opinion polls show an outpouring of anger and frustration from white youth. White millennials – youth between the ages of 18 and 29 – now see themselves victims of reverse discrimination and shut out of the American Dream.
“Upwards of 60 percent of young whites report that they are discriminated against as much other minorities, while almost 50 percent describe themselves as ‘angry and irritable.’ This is an amazing shift from a few years ago, when they were branded as ‘hip Obama Youth’ due to their love of social media and landmark activism during the 2008 election of the first black president.
“Crushed by a stagnant economy and ballooning student-loan debt, popular culture contributes to the feeling that success and upward mobility in America now belongs to black and brown hip-hop celebrities and athletes. For this generation, Lena Dunham’s character on ‘Girls’ reflects the distress of being white, 20-something, unemployed, overeducated and depressed. The mistrial in this case may reflect a reluctant empathy for Michael Dunn, as more Americans, especially white millennials, see themselves as victims in society.”