ZSpeak “Future Rising” Series (from Global Mosaic)
No generation is following the George Floyd events more attentively than Generation Z. Even the youngest Zs are actively participating in the discussion via their social media feeds, while others are showing up at protests, and organizing youth rallies in their communities.
And it’s no wonder. Gen Z’s passion against racial oppression is highly personal. Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history. Currently, only 52% of Gen Z are “non-Hispanic white”, and the Census Bureau projects that by 2026, this generation will have a nonwhite majority.
That’s right. Not only is Gen Z now the largest generation in the U.S., but they are literally recalibrating our demographic make-up , who constitutes the “majority” vs. the “minority” and redefining the concept of “race”.
Gen Zs have grown up seeing color, amongst their peer group, their cultural icons and in the oval office. When Obama won the 2008 election, the oldest Zs were only 11; Zs experienced many of their formulative years during Obama’s 8-year term. Most Gen Zs can’t remember a time before we had an African-American president.
Fully 1/4 of Gen Zs in the U.S. are Hispanic. If you are a Z growing up in the Western part of the U.S, you may be the majority if “Hispanic”, and a minority if you are “white” (as Hispanics represent 40% of Gen Zs in the Western U.S.).
If you are a Z growing up in a large U.S. city, fully 2/3 of your cohort are of color and only 1/3 are “white”.
Importantly, more than 1 in 10 Gen Zs are multiracial and defy traditional racial definitions. Further, 29% are either first generation (7%) or a child of at least one foreign-born parent (22%). A Gen Z may report having a Korean father and a Mexican mother, but self- identify as “American”, rather than “Asian” or “Hispanic”. This generation has told us they do not like to be placed in a “racial box”, and are the generation most likely to check “other” for race.
Gen Z’s collective nature (see: “Gen Z is We Generation”) very much applies to race. They tell us they SEE color and embrace the benefits it brings to the whole. They believe their collective diversity is their strength as a generation.
Critically, given their diverse make-up, they are more aware of prejudice and racism than previous generations. Less than 1/2 of Boomers believe “blacks are treated less fairly than whites in the U.S.”, while 2/3 of Gen Zs agree with that statement: “The decades of inequality that past generations have put up with, we are NOT. We recognize what is happening to our world and the actions we need to take in order to fix it.” (20, WA)
Gen Zs consider racism one of their top 3 generational issues (along with climate change and gun violence). Regardless of personal ethnicity, Zs overwhelmed us with messages of solidarity and a commitment to stand together to fight racism and support their peers of color: “If we don’t speak up, who will? We cannot wait and pass on the responsibility to someone else. It takes a collective unity of the people to make a difference and dismantle the broken systems of power which exploit people.” (20, TX)
We at ZSpeak are inspired by the future implications of a generation as diverse and inclusive as Gen Z. We stand in solidarity with our Z friends and those doing the work of racial justice.
AnneMarie Evans, Founder/President, ZSpeak & Global Mosaic