Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood

Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality released its paper on Adultification, titled Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood. This study explores the perception of Black girls as less innocent and less in need of nurturing or protection than their white peers.

Building on previous research conducted on Black boys, which measured whether adults perceive Black boys as older and more culpable for suspected crimes, Georgetown surveyed 325 adults across the United States to measure what it refers to as the adultification of Black girls.

It found, compared to white girls of the same age, survey participants perceive that:

Black girls need less nurturing.
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 adult topics.
Black girls know more about sex.

These results are profound, with far-reaching implications. The findings reveal a potential contributing factor to the disproportionate rates of punitive treatment in the education and juvenile justice systems for Black girls. You can find the report on Georgetown’s website and view a video about the study on the Georgetown Law Facebook page.

Georgetown will host a Twitter chat about the adultification of Black girls on Thursday, June 29 from 1:00 to 2:00pm EST. Please join @GeorgetownLaw and @GtownLawPovCntr in the discussion via the hashtag: #GirlhoodInterrupted.

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