June 24, 2007
Written by C.N.
In many ways, California is the trendsetter for the rest of the country. This applies not just to fashion, media, or other popular culture trends, but also demographic and socio-cultural patterns as well — the influx of legal and illegal immigrants, interracial marriage, affirmative action, demographic changes, etc. With that in mind, New American Media recently completed a comprehensive survey of young people in California. In general, the data show that across all racial groups, the vast majority of respondents are optimistic about their lives. However, there are a few interesting differences:
White Anglo young people name family breakdown as number one, followed by poverty and global warming. Family breakdown is also the top issue for Asian youth, but violence in their neighborhoods is nearly as important, while global warming and poverty are tied for third. African American and Latino young people say that violence in their neighborhoods or communities is the most pressing issue facing their generation.
Interestingly, Asian American respondents are much more likely than other groups to cite pressures related to school as their biggest source of stress:
Asian American respondents are also tied with Whites in having the largest percentage who responded that most of their friends are of a different race/ethnicity:
Young Asian Americans are also the least likely to judge their mental health status as “very healthy”:
Overall, while tentative, one result of the survey seems to suggest that while they’re generally happy and optimistic about their lives, compared to their counterparts of different races, young Asian Americans in California are more likely to be stressed about their education (perhaps the pressures to succeed that they experience, or possibly related to a fear of violence at school) and that this concern contributes to slightly lower self-assessments of their overall mental health than other racial groups.
In fact, I have posted about both of these issues before — the pressures to succeed in school and being targets of violence at school. In other words, there is mounting evidence that these two issues are a concern for young Asian Americans. With that in mind, we as Asian Americans and American society in general, should be much more cognizant of situations when these issues become overwhelming and have programs in place to address them in an effective and culturally competent manner.
After all, if our children are our future, we need to do what we can to ensure that have the best possible chances at being happy and successful.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Survey of Young People in California" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/06/survey-of-young-people-in-california/> ().
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