In Texas, Black Girls Are Almost Seven Times As Likely To Be Suspended From School As White Girls

“Adultification” of African-American girls means they’re seen as less innocent than white peers


Twenty-three percent of the students in Fort Worth ISD are black. But according to a recent report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 62 percent of all girls suspended in the district last school year were African-American. Fort Worth ISD administrators are looking into why this is happening in their district.

The problem is much bigger than Fort Worth ISD, though. Nationwide, girls of color are disproportionately suspended from school, when compared with their white peers. According to research by the National Women’s Law Center – across Texas, black girls are almost seven times more likely to be suspended than white girls.

Texas researchers studying possible factors have made a troubling discovery. The study suggests that adults view black girls as less innocent than white girls. Dr. Jamilia Blake, professor of educational psychology at Texas A&M University, is one of the authors of a new report on the adultification of black girls. She says her study, “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood,” conducted in collaboration with Georgetown Law Center on Poverty, is the first to focus on black girls, though earlier research has addressed a similar issue in the lives of African-American boys.

“Adults saw black boys as being less innocent than white boys, across various age ranges,” Blake says of that study. Researchers also found that law enforcement professionals were more likely to believe that black boys were guilty of crimes, and that they attributed this to officers not seeing African-American boys as children.

Read the full article and hear the story on Houston Public Radio.