The Adultification Of Black Girls

The Adultification Of Black Girls

“[T]he officer that came and … fingerprinted me — he was like: ‘Well, child, you know, don’t lie to us. And if you tell us the real — your real age and real name, we wouldn’t have to be going through none of this’ ….” (Age group 13-17) 

Participant of  a study conducted by Georgetown Law Center and Poverty and Inequality of girls ages 13-17

Adultification or Adultification bias is a form of racial prejudice where children of minority groups are seen to be more mature and thus are judged more severely in the eyes of authority. 

The biggest victim of this racial prejudice has been African-American girls as well as other girls from the African diaspora. 

The most substantial reason for this social phenomenon is due to the culturally rooted fantasies of African-American girls sexualisation. Which, took a dark and perverted route during slavery. 

This shift resulted in the creation of an unconscious bias towards the black woman. 

These biases created three dominant black femininity archetypes that the black perceives black women and girls in. 

  1. The Sapphire: an angry, unfeminine, loud and emasculating woman. 
  2. The Jezebel: a hyper-sexual and seductive woman. 
  3. The Mammy: the self-sacrificing mother figure who is not attractive. 

These historical stereotypes are extremely damaging to the modern-day African-American woman because they insinuate that African-American girls don’t need male protection, are sexually promiscuous and defiant towards authority.  

As a society, we need to systematically dismantle these unconscious biases by portraying black women in different lights in the media. The angry black woman stereotype is a negative portrayal of black girls which only confirms the prejudice that black woman/girls are naturally aggressive and insubordinate.  

My name is Aikah Zungu. I am a 16-year-old girl living in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa is a beautiful country filled with diversity and rich culture. However, it is not a safe country to live in if you are a woman. South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the world. Living as a woman in my country is an extreme sport. From a young age, I was taught to stay vigilant, dress modestly and to never find yourself in a compromising position. The anxiety and fear that my upbringing forced upon is a bad habit I am un-learning each day. The only solace I had was the arts from writing to performing. I plan on bringing awareness to the unique issues the African woman faces. By joining SHEQUALITY, I now have a platform to communicate my thoughts and opinions to the world.

Leave a Comment