A Study Says Black Girls Are Seen As "Less Innocent" Than White Girls

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According to a new study, adults tend to see Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like when compared to white girls, which may lead to stronger punishments in school.
The study, released by Georgetown Law on Tuesday, showed a great discrepancy between the way people treat young Black girls when compared to their white peers — which, unfortunately, isn't too surprising.
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The study surveyed 325 adults from various racial, educational and ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S, gauging their perceptions of both Black girls and white girls.
Their findings?
Not only did adults presume that Black girls were more adult-like, they also felt that they needed less support and less protection, and even that they knew more about sex than white girls did.
"Black women have historically been seen as aggressive, loud, defiant and oversexualized," co-author Jamilia Blake, an associate professor at Texas A&M University, told USA Today. "We have a societal stereotype that is pervasive. It goes across the media, and it’s embedded in our history and our interactions."
Additionally, adults began showing bias towards Black girls from as early as age 5.
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"The fact that you think a (Black) 5-year-old is more knowledgeable about sex is amazing to me," Blake told USA Today. "When this stereotype is put on girls at a young age, it robs them of the naiveté of being a child."
Seeing a child as more adult-like than they actually are doesn't seem that harmful at first — but when you consider the fact that the officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice claimed that he thought the boy was an adult, it puts into light just how dangerous this line of thinking can be.
"It’s a call for public awareness and policy reform," Blake told USA Today about the study.
"We urge legislators, advocates and policymakers to examine the disparities that exist for black girls in the education and juvenile justice systems and to pursue reforms that preserve childhood for all."
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