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Poll: Racism Doesn’t Affect Teens

November 16, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nearly nine out of 10 black teen-agers said racism has little impact on their day-to-day lives, according to a Time-CNN poll released Sunday.

But the survey also found more than half of all teen-agers - 62 percent of blacks and 58 whites - believe racism is ``a big problem.″

Specifically asked about racism in their own lives, 89 percent of black teen-agers said racism was ``a small problem″ or ``not a problem at all.″

When asked about discrimination, 23 percent of black teen-agers, compared with 16 percent of whites, said they had been victimized because of their race. More than half of black adults -- 53 percent -- and just 20 percent of white adults said they had been victims of discrimination.

The poll is part of a story called ``Kids and Race″ in the Nov. 24 issue, which will be on newsstands on Monday. It was was conducted between Sept. 23 and Oct. 2 by Yankelovich Partners, which surveyed 816 white adults, 374 black adults, 301 white teen-agers and 300 black teen-agers. The margin of error ranged from 3.4 percent to 5.6 percent.

Nearly one out of seven - 13 percent - white teen-agers admitted to using illegal drugs, while just 6 percent of black teens said they had used them.

``Teen-agers are a mirror of our souls,″ sociologist and author Howard Pinderhughes told Time. ``They speak plainly about things that adults would like to hide. Political correctness isn’t an issue to them.″

More than half of all teen-agers -- 55 percent of whites, 64 percent of blacks -- favor colleges reserving scholarships exclusively for minorities and women.

The poll also found one in eight white teens and one in nine blacks heard their parents say something negative about another race.

Teen-agers’ optimism was evident when they told pollsters that race relations will improve in this country. Seventy-six percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks said race relations will get better compared with 60 percent of white adults and 43 percent of black adults.

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