A study released Tuesday has revealed that Black girls in the age range of 5-14 are viewed as less innocent and more adult-like when compared to White girls.
This information comes via Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Equality. Georgetown released the study titled “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood” which revealed that people believe that black girls need less nurturing, protection, and are more independent. Participants in the study have the idea that Black girls are more adult-like and so they know more about adult topics, and they know more about sex.
This study shines a light on the dangerous and heavy burden on the shoulder of black girls. The idea that a black girl is less innocent than her white counterpart puts a cruel and unfair amount of pressure on Black girls to grow up fast, and not allow them the grace of innocent because of the color of their skin. This implies that Black girls and White girls could commit the same mistakes, but the Black girl would receive a heavier punishment, and honestly, the White girl may not be punished at all.
As mentioned in an article on The Root, Black girls can see end up being looked over and disregarded in terms of getting mentorship and other types of guidance. The document that embodies this study sums up what is happening to Black girls as “adultification” and it is defined as:
Ultimately, adultification is a form of dehumanization, robbing Black children of the very essence of what makes childhood distinct from all other developmental periods: innocence. Adultification contributes to a false narrative that Black youths’ transgressions are intentional and malicious, instead of the result of immature decision-making—a key characteristic of childhood. In essence, “the adultification stereotype results in some [Black] children not being afforded the opportunity”48 to make mistakes and to learn, grow, and benefit from correction for youthful missteps to the same degree as white children.
This is a terribly alarming and informing piece of information to read especially as a parent of a daughter. Take the time out to read the study for yourself, here.