"The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth"
Kristin Henning, Blume Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, examines the foundations of racist policing in America
Our guest is Kristin Henning, who spent 20+ years representing Black youth in the Washington, D.C., juvenile court system, and who is now the Blume Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where she's also the director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative. She joins us to discuss her new book, "The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth," which examines the foundations of racist policing in America: the day-to-day brutalities, largely hidden from public view, that've long been endured by Black youth growing up under constant police surveillance and the non-stop double-threat of physical and psychological abuse. As was noted of this timely and unsettling study in the pages of Publishers Weekly: "Black youth in the U.S. are subjected to unwarranted scrutiny by police and an overly punitive and biased justice system, according to this sobering and richly documented study. Georgetown law professor Henning draws on high-profile cases, sociological research, and her experiences representing defendants in D.C.'s juvenile courts to document the institutional mechanisms that criminalize the normal adolescent behavior of Black youth. She notes, for example, that some communities have banned sagging pants, a symbol of hip-hop culture; that Black adolescents meeting in groups are routinely branded as gang members, while white teenagers are not; and that Black youth are more likely to be prosecuted for drug crimes, despite evidence that white youth use illicit drugs at the same rates or higher.... Copiously documented and passionately argued, this is a powerful and persuasive call for change."