5, September 2016
A majority of young white Americans now say they support Black Lives Matter, a protest movement calling for police accountability in the deaths of African Americans. A new GenForward poll shows that 51 percent of white adults between the ages of 18 and 30 “strongly” or “somewhat” support the anti-racism movement, a 10-point increase since June.
Forty-two percent of the white youth said they do not support the protest movement, according to the survey conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Black Lives Matter enjoys widespread backing among the African-American community, with 85 percent of young blacks expressing support for the protesters. Sixty-seven percent of Asian and 62 percent of Hispanic young adults agreed with that sentiment. Young African-American, Hispanic and Asian adults had already expressed majority support for the movement in the June version of the poll.
Some respondents interviewed by the AP said watching police brutality against African Americans online helped cement their support for Black Lives Matter. “The fact is that the police target blacks and they discriminate against blacks,” said Sean Bradley, 26, of Clearwater, Florida.
“Because of how they’ve treated blacks over the years, of course they (blacks) don’t trust them and I know for a fact that some of the things the police do are illegal. I would be upset as well,” he added.
The Black Lives Matter movement first emerged in 2012 after unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted by a grand jury.
The protest movement gathered strength in ensuing years following the high-profile deaths of a number of African Americans at the hands of white police officers in New York City, Baltimore, Ferguson and elsewhere.