While strong in self-identification, many youth battle discrimination and oppression in mainstream American culture. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and gender non-conforming youth are bombarded with conservative politics that pressure them to conform. African-American, Latina, Asian, Native Indigenous and other youth of color face stereotypes and racial profiling that constantly puts them in the line of fire.
From misuse of police power to immigration politics, America’s youth are dealing with a new set of concerns that other generations did not encounter.
School and cyber bullying, date-rape drugs and other forms of sexual assault, religious extremism and workplace discrimination–all issues that youth of color in particular are often not taught to navigate or confront.
Parents, school and religious clergy, mental health providers and community leaders must be educated on the issues today’s youth are facing. There is also a need for cultural competency training and education of providers who serve youth from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Dr. Lesleigh Franklin is a leading clinician and youth advocate.