Black girls’ childhoods matter.

But according to a recent study, many people are inclined to act as if they don’t.

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Protect and nurture our girls. 

We’re on a social-emotional learning kick these days, and a friend of the blog tipped us off to this Washington Post writeup: “Study: Black girls viewed as ‘less innocent’ than white girls.'”

From the article:

Overall, the study concluded that when adults compared white girls and black girls they viewed black girls as needing less nurturing, less support and less comfort.

“Ultimately, adultification is a form of dehumanization, robbing black children of the very essence of what makes childhood distinct from all other developmental periods: innocence,” the authors wrote. “Adultification contributes to a false narrative that black youths’ transgressions are intentional and malicious, instead of the result of immature decision-making—a key characteristic of childhood.”

The authors wrote that these perceptions may be contributing to discrepancies in school discipline and juvenile justice charges among black girls. The study noted that black girls are five times more likely than white girls to be suspended from school and 20 percent more likely to be charged with a crime.

This sets off alarm bells for us for many reasons, particularly through our current lens of SEL. If black girls aren’t given the space that all children need to practice learning about and handling emotions–or are given that space grudgingly, without the benefit of being seen as children in need of support–we as a society are setting them up for consequences both earlier and later in life.

It’s a short read, but worthwhile.

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