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In America, black parents can only dream of having the same worries as white ones

People stand in Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell during a march against gun violence, held ahead of...
Reuters/Andrew Kelly
Don’t shoot.
  • Jenny Anderson
By Jenny Anderson

Senior reporter, Editor of How to be Human

This article is more than 2 years old.

Being a parent means worrying. But black parents and white parents in the US worry about very different things, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

White parents worry most that their children will struggle with anxiety or depression, or have problems with drugs or alcohol. Black parents’ primary fear is that their children will get shot. After that, they worry whether their kids will face depression and anxiety. Fears of drug and alcohol abuse come third.

Here’s the breakdown:

These fears have deeply disturbing statistical backing. According to the Center for Disease Control (pdf), the leading cause of death for black males age 14-19 is homicide, followed by unintentional injuries (falling, car accidents) and suicide. For whites, unintentional injuries is the leading cause of death, followed by suicide and then homicide.

The Pew parenting survey was conducted in 2015 among 1,807 US parents with children younger than 18.

The stark differences in the dangers young black men face vs. their white counterparts materialized last summer, in widely differing reactions to the police’s shooting of Michael Brown, a black, unarmed teenager in Ferguson. Mo. A different Pew study at the time showed that 80% of blacks believed the shooting raised important issues about race, compared to only 37% of whites. Nearly half of whites said that race was getting more attention than it deserved; 18% of blacks agreed.

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