Research has already shown that black girls are seen by adults as less childlike than white girls. This phenomenon, known as “adultification,” was first documented two years ago by researchers at Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality. Now, a followup study reveals that, not surprisingly, black girls and women sharply feel the impact of “adultification.” As one study participant put it, “[T]o society, we’re not innocent. And white girls are always innocent.”
In an earlier 2017 study, Georgetown Law researchers found that black girls, even those as young as 5 years old, were seen by adults as less needing of comfort, nurturing, protection, and support than white girls. The researchers also found that black girls were perceived as more independent and knowledgeable about sex. In this latest study, researchers set out to understand how black girls and women experienced this “adultification” through a series of national focus groups.