Asked to identify the age of a young boy that committed a felony, participants in a study routinely overestimated the age of black children far more than they did white kids.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, aimed at figuring out the extent to which black children were likely to be treated differently than their white peers solely based on race.
Author Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA told the American Psychological Association, “Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent.”
In the graph below, their research shows the shows the number of use of force incidents by officers in the study:
The below graph shows the results of the study of mean age overestimation by college participants (left) and, frighteningly of police officers (right) in the study:
Police participants in particular grossly overestimated the age of black children when they suspected them of felonies especially. In fact, when a police officer suspected a white child of a felony, they underestimated their ages on average. College students also mimicked this trend in grossly overestimating the age of black children they suspected of felonies vs. white and latino children.
“[T]he implicit dehumanization of Blacks,” the study’s authors write, “was a significant predictor of racial disparities in the use of force against children” — though they’re clear to note that it is “plausible that negative interactions with Black children disproportionately produce implicit anti-Black dehumanization.”
The humanity and innocence of black children and their bodies does not exist in our virulently antiblack society. There is no sanctity of black life, and we will even execute 14 year old black children like George Stinney for the crime of existing in our white supremacist society. Even criminal white children will still be seen as children, whereas black children are simply miniature adults bound to fill another bed in the prison industrial complex. Sickening.
(h/t For Harriet)