A new report by the Center on Poverty and Inequality at the Georgetown University of Law reveals that Black girls need to be nurtured and cared for now, more than ever.
Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, focuses on the concept of “adultification,” in which Black girls are viewed as less-innocent and more adult like than their peers, especially in the age range of 5-14. The study is a continuation of previous research focused on Black boys. Researchers surveyed a participant group which mimed the composite of the U.S. population.
“It’s a call to action to fight to build on our findings,” said Rebecca Epstein, the lead author of the report and the center’s executive director. “It’s a call to action for public awareness and policy reform,” she continued.
Researchers found Black girls are five more times likely to be suspended then white girls, and twice more likely to be suspended as white boys.
The study also uncovered that although Black girls only make up under 16 percent of the female population in schools, they account for 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement, and 37 percent of arrests.
That’s significantly higher than their White female counterparts who make up 50 percent of the school population, but make up 34 percent of referrals and 30 percent of arrests.
And in the justice system, Black girls receive harsher treatment. They’re three times as likely as white girls to be referred to the juvenile justice system.
“Black girls are being held to the same stereotypes as Black women,” said Jamilia Blake, the reports coauthor and professor at Texas A&M University.
Both Epstein and Blake hope the study’s findings will be used to train members of law enforcement and especially educators, where Black girls are one of the most vulnerable populations in the classroom
Blake also noted the harmful psychological effects instilled in and enacted by members of society over time.
“It’s a societal stereotype that’s pervasive. It goes across our media, it’s embedded our history,” she said.
For more details regarding the study, click here.