GOOD

Young Activists Care About Race, Gender, and the Economy—But Not the Election

A new report reveals Millennials want social change, but don't believe the election can make it happen.



A new report from the Applied Research Center concludes that young progressive activists care about racial justice, class divides, and gender issues. They're worried about widespread ignorance, complacency, and the danger of unchecked capitalism. They also don't have much faith in Obama—or much use for the upcoming election.

The report was compiled using information from several focus groups of progressive activists in Portland, Oakland, Atlanta, Baltimore, and New York. The ARC chose participants (about half of them white, half people of color) with "experience as a paid employee, volunteer, or small donor of a social justice or community organization," or who had participated in the Occupy movement.


Responses to several questions were divided along racial lines; for instance, 81 percent of people of color said their activism was influenced by a personal or family experience, as opposed to 52 percent of white participants. Some answers were also split according to whether or not people were OWS-affiliated. Occupiers ranked racial justice as a lower priority than non-Occupiers. But one sentiment was virtually universal: The 2012 presidential election wasn't a major motivator for their work.



Whether or not participants planned to vote in 2012 often depended on whether or not they identified with Occupy Wall Street: Fewer OWS protesters said they would vote in the election. And the movement's participants were more likely to associate the words "corrupt" and "fraud" with the word "election" (see the word cloud above), whereas non-Occupiers had a more neutral reaction. But even the participants who do plan to show on Election Day aren't strongly backing a candidate. They uttered the famous line, "there is a lesser of two evils," or they think it'll prevent things from "becoming far worse." Some expressed more of an interest in voting for local politicians, because "you can go to the city council meeting and yell at them."

Perhaps the most ardent argument for voting in the entire report came from Manish, a 28-year-old South Asian-American non-Occupier, who said activists need to "take small steps to push the Democrats," like how "the Tea Party pushed the right to the right." Nobody seemed to have much faith in the system as it stood.

Back in November, we visited New York's Occupy Wall Street site and asked some of these same questions...and received many of the same answers. "He hasn’t done what he said he would, but he’s better than the other candidates," one person said of the president. "Obama will be easier to change than any Republican,” another hoped. But this was when the election was a full year away, before the president had a clear opponent and before we had to really think about our vote. It turns out the initial election effort hasn't swayed us much.

If this admittedly limited report is any indication, even (perhaps especially) the most politically aware and informed Millennials feel burned from 2008—maybe not by President Obama personally, but by the realization that federal politics are maddeningly stagnant and predetermined. We still hold the same values as we did four years ago, but the changes we hoped for seem impossible on the federal level. One of the participants, 26-year-old Chris, may have said it best: "We can't just put this guy in charge and forget about it. If we want things to change, we have to take it into our own hands."

Photo via (cc) Flickr user david_shankbone; word cloud image courtesy of the Applied Research Center.

Articles
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet