Friends and Race
Im in the middle of a multi-part blog series on a great new book on kids and race called Growing Up in America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens. Based on the data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, this book has an important chapter on teenagers peers and examines similarities and differences among white, African-American, Latino, and Asian-American teens. This post is devoted to findings that were especially interesting to me.
African-American teens are the most likely to have a best friend that is a family member and the least likely to have met their five best friends through school. African-American teens also seem to have the highest levels of satisfaction with their body and physical appearance (for both boys and girls).
Contrary to impressions from the media, the vast majority of African-American teens interviewed were not exposed to violence, gang activity, and drugs. This is not to say that those arent problems in the African-American community, but rather that the problems have been exaggerated. More common were reports of pressure to be tough and to engage in physical fights.
African-American teens are the most likely to have had sexual intercourse and to have had more partners compared to the other 3 racial groups examined. African-American teens also reported the highest levels of pressure to have sex from friends and dates.
While all teens view their friends as important, white teens spend the most time with their friends. Asian-American teens spend as much unsupervised time with their peers as white teens but are less influenced by them.
My biggest frustration with blogging about this book is its like drinking from a fire hydrant. So many interesting tidbits about race and kids.
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