Black Girls are Frequently Adultified as Being Older than Their Actual Age

By Aubree Conner, 9th grade

When I was younger, I used to get compliments about my skin, face, and body. I was never confident about how I looked because of the kids at my school. They made me feel ugly, and that’s how I looked at myself. My mom always told me not to ever think or believe what the kids had to say but I never listened to her. I thought that she has never dealt with anything like this so I didn’t really care what she said. At the time, I thought everything the kids said was right. I believed the kids never liked me because of my skin color. Kids my age would get talked about their color. It wouldn’t matter if you were light skin, brown skinned, or dark skinned. Either way, you would still get talked about. That’s why I always thought people never liked me because of my skin color. It didn’t really affect me though, because I was always confident about my skin color. Not saying that colorism was heavy when I was younger but I’m also not saying that it wasn’t there.  When I was younger, I had a pear like body shape and even though I was somewhat fat, people still liked my body so I wasn’t on that for too much.

But as I got older, my body developed. Men think I’m older than what I actually am and give me weird compliments about it, which I find uncomfortable. They talk to me in a sexual way .That’s inappropriate, and very embarrassing. I think older Black adults look at Black kids like they’re adults because of our parents. They say things like “If so and so happened to you it’s your fault because why are you acting like that, you’re acting like an adult.” Then it’s even more embarrassing when older people try to make you act older than you actually are. The people at church tell you you need to do so much at a young age so you can do this and that when you grow older. I don’t want to say I feel pressured but to a certain extent I am. For example, my mom puts so much pressure on me and I feel stressed out. I don’t know if other Black moms do this but my mom is treating me like she was treated when she was about 18-20. Some of the responsibilities I have include taking care of my siblings, making sure they clean up and sharing my money with them. Don’t get me wrong, I never had a problem with helping them, but every time I get money I have to share. Or I have to give it to my mom. There are also things I know that I’m probably not supposed to know but since my mom knows it’s she just has to give me a life lesson on it. Every time I try to talk to my mom she always says I’m “talking back,” when I’m actually sticking up for myself. I think Black moms need to just look at themselves and actually think about what they’re doing to their kids. This takes me back to a mention I read in this article called “Adults Think Black Girls Are Older Than They Are—and It Matters”, which states, “Beginning when they are 5 years old and continuing through age 19, Black girls are viewed as more adult than their white counterparts. And this “adultification” happens for a reason.” 

This also takes me back to what I mentioned earlier, Black adults treat their kids like adults because of what they were going through when they were growing up. Kids are stressed because our parents are putting too much pressure on us. We are too young to be doing all of these unnecessary things or if not we need to be independent with everything we do because “what if they’re not there when we grow up.” We deserve better. We need to be treated better. 

Hi, my name is Aubree Conner and I am 15 years old. I am in the 9th grade and I would like to go to UC Berkeley when I graduate high school. I would like to go there to study psychology and I aspire to become a psychologist when I grow up.