Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls
Adultification: it’s a disturbing phenomenon that’s happening across the country – and with notable impact right here in the Pittsburgh region. Adultification is the perception that African American girls are more adult, more aggressive, more sexually aware and less in need of support and care than girls of the same age, but of different race. But it’s more than simply a problem of perception. Experts have linked adultification to disproportionate rates of classroom discipline, school suspension, and referrals to the juvenile justice system for Black girls which has a direct connection to the school-to-prison pipeline. What’s more, the racial disparity in juvenile justice referrals of Black girls is much higher in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County than school districts in 95 percent of similar cities.