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Choosing to focus specifically on black girls, the 2017 study found that adults saw black girls ages 5-19 as in need of less protection and support than white girls the same age, and that black girls were more independent and knew more about adult topics, including about sex.

The women in the focus groups recounted experiences that reflected how “adultification bias” appeared to be connected to their receiving more punitive treatment. One participant, for instance, described an encounter with a police officer who didn’t believe she was 15. He handcuffed and fingerprinted her, insisting she was too old not to carry identification.

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