You’re 25 and Think You’re Immune From Racism? You’re Not Alone

For a lot of young professionals, sexism and racism are things that happen to someone else.

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What does it mean if you believe that sexism and racism are real, but you don’t feel that they have an impact on your day-to-day life?

Does it mean that you’re like the Grand Old Party and think we all overcame by virtue of Rosa Parks’ sitting where she wasn’t supposed to sit oh so many years ago? Or does it mean that you know these things are real, but deep down you want to believe you’re too special to be held back by the invisible hand of rampant discrimination?

Or is it something else?

Pew Research interviewed millennials about the gains of women in the workplace, and while 75 percent of millennial women agreed that more changes need to take place, only 15 percent felt they’d been discriminated against because of their gender. This was both surprising and not at the same time.

Surprising because if things “feel” more equal, why do many people believe that things still aren’t fair? But then again, it was not surprising because, while I’m not a millennial, I also haven’t felt held back by my gender or my race. And it’s not because I think the world is fair to women or black people. I have a tendency to think the rules don’t apply to me, until they painfully do.

Call it the bias of the self or blame it on being raised to think I’m a special snowflake (as a lot of us in our 20s and 30s were), but I don’t think I’m alone.

From Pew (emphasis mine):

Large majorities of working men (73%) and working women (75%) say that where they work, men and women are paid about the same amount for doing the same job …

Similar majorities of men (73%) and women (72%) say that at their workplace, women have about the same opportunities as men to advance to top executive and professional positions