Young Latino leaders unlikely to see Jews as targets of systemic discrimination, says poll

Latino millennial and Gen-Z thought leaders are increasingly unlikely to see Jews as the target of systemic discrimination, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

The survey’s respondents ranked which minority groups are most likely to suffer discrimination in the United States: 62 percent said African Americans, 12 percent said Hispanics, 8 percent said Muslims, 7 percent said Asian Americans, and 6 percent said Jews.

“Amidst rising levels of antisemitism, including violent attacks on Jews across the United States, the misperceptions among younger Latino adults of the threats American Jews are facing are disconcerting,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs. 

“The Latino and Jewish communities must bridge these gaps, especially when both minorities are targets of hate. We need to stand together as one against bigotry and violence in America.”

The survey was compiled from 125 executive interviews among Hispanics identified as emerging leaders from five different metropolitan areas, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. 

The 125 survey respondents were whittled down from a universe of 20,500 advocacy group senior officers, business leaders, faith leaders, attorneys, tech leaders and politicians between the ages of 18 and 40 in those areas.

Research firm Bendixen and Amandi International conducted the executive interviews, which mixed multiple choice and open-ended questions.

Half the survey respondents said they viewed Jews “like another form of a white person,” while 40 percent said “Jews are more like other minorities.”

And 54 percent said Jews are not “currently experiencing significant levels of discrimination in the United States,” while 34 percent said Jews are experiencing significant discrimination.

According to FBI hate crime statistics released earlier this month, crimes motivated by religious bias rose 28 percent in 2021.

The most affected religions, proportionately to their total U.S. population, were Sikhism, Judaism and Islam.

According to the FBI’s statistics, there was one reported Jewish hate crime victim in 2021 for every 9,200 Jews in the United States.

Sikhs were the most victimized religious group in the country, with one victim reported for about every 2,500 Sikhs, and the FBI reported one Muslim hate crime victim for every 20,000 Muslims in the country.

According to the FBI statistics, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and non-gender conforming people were also more likely to be victims of hate crimes.

But Jews were more likely to be victims of a hate crime than people targeted for their race or ethnicity.

Black Americans were the most likely to be victims of a hate crime because of their race; 3,906 people were targeted in 2021 for being Black, meaning the FBI registered one anti-Black hate crime victim for every 12,000 Black people in the United States.

The same FBI report found one Hispanic hate crime victim reported for every 70,000 Hispanics in the United States.

Yet, the AJC survey respondents largely said that anti-Semitism was improving, and discrimination against Jews easing.

While 14 percent of respondents said anti-Semitism is “worse than ever,” 37 percent said it’s “gotten better” and 35 percent said it had remained stable.

The survey respondents also largely said that Hispanic communities in the metropolitan areas surveyed had a “more difficult situation;” 63 percent of respondents said Hispanic communities are worse off, while 19 percent said the Jewish community is worse off, and 13 percent said both communities face equal difficulties.

And 42 percent of respondents said the Jewish community is “​​currently well positioned to fend for itself,” while 39 percent said Jewish communities need the support of their Hispanic peers.