On Episode 42: Professor and author Kristin Henning talks about her new book
The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth. Unfortunately, the epidemic of Black youth being overly criminalized continues and we all have an opportunity to do something about. Yes, even you! Professor Henning will share what each of us can do. All children and adolescents deserve the chance to be young and dumb and make the mistakes that all youth make. We talk about how to walk the fine line as Black parents of not traumatizing our children but making sure we "give them talk" and prepare them for the realities of life in America as a Black youth. Do our children have an accurate picture of justice are some of the questions we explore in this interview. After you listen to this podcast you will realize this book is a MUST read.
Drawing upon 25 years of experience representing Black youth in D.C's juvenile
court, Henning confronts America's irrational, manufactured fears of Black youth and makes a powerfully compelling case that the crisis in racist American policing begins with its relationship to Black children. Discriminatory and aggressive policing has socialized a generation of Black teenagers to fear and resent the police, and details the long-term consequences of racism and trauma Black youth experience at the hands of police and their vigilante surrogates. Unlike white youth, who are afforded the freedom to test boundaries, experiment with sex and drugs, and figure out who they are and who they want to be, Black youth are seen as a threat to white America and are denied healthy adolescent development. Henning examines the
criminalization of Black adolescent play and sexuality, and of Black fashion, hair, and music.
She highlights the effects of police presence in schools, and the depth of policing-induced trauma in Black adolescents. Especially in the wake of the recent unprecedented, worldwide outrage at racial injustice and inequality, THE RAGE OF INNOCENCE Is an essential book for our moment.
KRISTIN HENNING has been representing children accused of crime in
Washington, DC for more than twenty-five years and is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant on the intersection of race, adolescence, and policing. Henning now serves as the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown Law and was previously the Lead Attorney of the Juvenile Unit at the D.C. Public Defender Service. Henning is the recipient of many awards, including the 2021 Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center and the 2013 Robert E. Shepherd Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense by the National Juvenile Defender Center. She has written numerous law review articles
and other publications advocating for reform in the juvenile legal system.