This Staggering News Study Reveals That Adults View Black Girls As Less Innocent Than Their White Peers

Here's what the research conducted by The Georgetown Law Center says about how adults really feel about young, Black girls. 

A new study shows a blistering report of data revealing that adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls of the same age. 

The study shared with ESSENCE was conducted by The Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality and is comprised of items related to stereotypes surrounding Black women and girls. 

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In a survey of 325 adults from various different racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds across the United States, the results were startling. 

It consisted of items related to stereotypes surrounding Black women and girls and included participants of various races and ages including 74% white, 62% female, and 39% between 25-34 years old.

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“These results suggest that Black girls are viewed as more adult than their white peers at almost all stages of childhood, beginning most significantly at the age of 5, peaking during the ages of 10 to 14, and continuing during the ages of 15 to 19,"  researchers said in the report. 

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"In essence, adults appear to place distinct views and expectations on Black girls that characterize them as developmentally older than their white peers, especially in mid-childhood and early adolescence— critical periods for healthy identity development," researchers continued.

Here's some of the key takeaways from participants in report: 

•    Black girls need less protection
•    Black girls need to be supported less
•    Black girls need to be comforted less
•    Black girls are more independent
•    Black girls know more about sex
•    Black girls know more about topics

“These are preschool girls who are being viewed as needing less protection and needing less nurturing than their white counterparts. At that age, I find that shocking,” says Rebecca Epstein, lead author of the report.

These results coincide with the disparities in suspension rates for Black girls. The disparities in treatment of Black girls in public schools extends into the juvenile justice system. From arrests to prosecutions, Black girls face harsher treatment than their peers. 

Dr. Monique W. Morris also noted in the report “The assignment of more adult-like characteristics to the expressions of young Black girls is a form of age compression. Along this truncated age continuum, Black girls are likened more to adults than to children and are treated as if they are willfully engaging in behaviors typically expected of Black women …. This compression … [has] stripped Black girls of their childhood freedoms [and] … renders Black girlhood interchangeable with Black womanhood.” 

This report offers similar results of the 2014 study of Professor Goof that proved that starting at age 10, Black boys are more likely than their white peers to be perceived as older and guilty if they’re suspected of a crime.  

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Filed under: Culture