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Black girls are seen as ‘less innocent’ than white girls, study finds

By Sydney C Greene, USA TODAY

Adults perceive black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than white ones, a new study found.

The Georgetown Law report, Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, expands on a 2014 study on adult perceptions of black boys. But the new study differs in how it  examines adults’ views of black girls and innocence.

“What we found is that adults see black girls as less innocent and less in need of protection as white girls of the same age,” Rebecca Epstein, lead author of the report and executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, said in a statement.

Researchers surveyed 325 adults from various racial, educational and ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S. They used a scale of childhood innocence that included items associated with stereotypes of black women and girls. One survey asked about adults’ perceptions of black girls, while another survey asked adults about their perceptions of white girls.


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