In her newsletter from Feb 4, Molly White highlights how we adultify Black children – a form of racial prejudice where children of minority groups, typically Black children, are treated by adults as being more mature than they actually are – whereas we infantilise adult tech bros.
In my talks and articles, I’ve discussed at large how we have one measure for physical goods and another for tech applications. For example, we demand that Pharmas go through a thorough FDA approval before bringing to the market new drugs but we don’t require any control over apps that claim to identify dermatological conditions based on 3 images of your skin.
This applies to people too.
The adultification of Black children comes in many forms. From calling them “young women” or “young men” even if they are younger than 10, all the way to enduring body searches such as in the case of Child Q – a 15-year-old that was strip-searched at school – higher rates of punishment in schools, and harsher sentences from judges.
White highlights in her article how we see the opposite effect with White white-collar tech criminals. The press infantilizes them, making them appear as naughty boys rather than adult offenders.
As an example, she looks at Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), FTX CEO, who happens to be 30. SBF was charged in December with eight criminal counts, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and he’s been released on a $250 million bail arrangement. He’s been referred to by the press as
“a child playing a game with other people’s cash”
“the boy king”
“boyish tech tycoon”
And he’s not the only one.
Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Adam Neumann… all were about thirty or older when they had notorious encounters with justice. Still, the media helped to portray them as “genius children” and they got a benevolent “tech boys will be boys”.
Let’s stand up against the maturity bias that infantilises White tech bros and adultifies Black children.
Let’s call out the media that decides who’s an adult and who’s a child irrespective of the legislation.
#AdultificationBlackChildren #MaturityBias #InfantilisationWhiteTechBros