More White Young Adults Support BLM. But There’s Still One Big Issue.

After a difficult summer, things are improving... kind of.

A new survey released Monday revealed that more young, white adults support the Black Lives Matter movement than ever before. But that advance comes with a big caveat. 

The GenForward survey, which was conducted by the Associated Press and the Black Youth Project amongst 1,958 adults between Aug. 1 and Aug. 14, showed that 51 percent of white adults between the ages of 18 and 30 say they support BLM, while 42 percent say they do not. 

In June, the number of white people who backed BLM stood at only 41 percent. While this is encouraging, a staggering set of statistics emerged from the same study, among them: 66 percent of young, white adults think BLM’s rhetoric encourages violence against the police. 

A protester holds a sign during a Black Lives Matter protest in Oakland, California.
A protester holds a sign during a Black Lives Matter protest in Oakland, California.

The survey showed that the belief was shared across racial/ethnic groups, too: 43 percent of Asian-Americans, 42 percent of Hispanics, and 19 percent of African-Americans share the opinion. 

BLM wasn’t built to incite any form of violence against police. In fact, it’s one of the dangerous misconceptions about the movement the group has sought to debunk. The movement’s larger mission is simply to demand that officers be held accountable for their actions. It is a message that has been upheld throughout dozens of protests around the country and reinforced this summer by the BLM’s co-founders.

Race helped dictate how people felt against cops and black citizens, too. According to the survey, 63 percent of young, white adults view violence against cops as a serious problem, while just 43 percent say the same of violence against black people at the hands of police. Not surprisingly, 91 percent of African Americans view cop killings of black men and women was a “very or extremely serious problem” and 72 percent say this problem plays into a larger systemic issue. (Sixty-one percent of Asian Americans, 51 percent of Latinos and only 40 percent of white people felt the same.)

Yet many BLM advocates, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, think that police brutality is instead a systemic issue in need of reform. Despite the promising changes to people’s general beliefs in the BLM movement, it’s discouraging to see on paper what we’ve really known all along: That support for the BLM movement ― and all it’s trying to do ― falls heavily along racial lines.  

Surprise, surprise. 



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