For some time now, we have seen the evidence that our American education and criminal-justice systems consistently impose harsher discipline, more frequently, on black boys and girls than they do on their non-black peers.

A new study from the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality specifically turned its attention to society’s perception of black girls.

A growing body of research has already shown that “black boys are wrongly perceived as older than their actual age and are more likely to be viewed as guilty when they are suspected of a crime,” reports Adrienne Green but the Georgetown study set out to determine whether black girls in particular were exposed to a similar effect.

“Not only do the researchers report that ‘black girls were more likely to be viewed as behaving and seeming older than their stated age,’ they also find that this dynamic is in place for girls as young as 5 years old,” says Green.

The authors of the study went on to conclude that black girls endure more punitive treatment than their white peers.

Simply put, if authorities in public systems view black girls as less innocent, less needing of protection, and generally more like adults, it appears likely that they would also view black girls as more culpable for their actions and, on that basis, punish them more harshly despite their status as children.

 

Read more at The Atlantic

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