Stop Calling Young Black Girls “Grown.” They’re Kids.
As we saw after the R. Kelly documentary, people will lay blame on everyone and everything rather than the responsible party—the perpetrator, the adult that knows better than a child. Victim blaming has a long history but it digs deeper with Black girls, who are held to different standards. A 2017 Georgetown University study found that adults viewed Black girls as less innocent, more adult-like than their white counterparts, making them less likely to feel pain, thus aware and culpable of their actions and decisions. When these narratives are perpetuated, it translates into the messaging that men are unable to control themselves and you, as a Black girl, know this so you really brought these painful traumatic experiences upon yourself. We put Black girls at risk of internalizing this rational, impeding on their confidence while it’s been proven the adultification of black girls directly correlates to their criminalization in schools as well as contributes to the sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline.
Black girls are called grown for dancing while other girls are called cute. Black girls are called grown for the curves of their bodies while others are called fine young women. Black girls are called grown for knowing about sex while others are called responsibly sex positive. No one ever takes a moment to recognize that the people who are over-sexualizing Black girls are the very people that should be protecting their childhood.