Left Bank Books Presents: Kristin Henning with Justin Hansford

The Rage of Innocence

On October 4, 2021, Left Bank Books hosted a Facebook Live conversation with Justin Hansford and Kristin Henning, a nationally recognized trainer and consultant on the intersection of race, adolescence, and policing.

Henning discussed her new book, "The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth." 

Left Bank Books' Description of "The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth"

A brilliant analysis of the foundations of racist policing in America: the day-to-day brutalities, largely hidden from public view, endured by Black youth growing up under constant police surveillance and the persistent threat of physical and psychological abuse Drawing upon twenty-five years of experience rep­resenting Black youth in Washington, D.C.'s juve­nile courts, Kristin Henning confronts America's irrational, manufactured fears of these young peo­ple and makes a powerfully compelling case that the crisis in racist American policing begins with its relationship to Black children.

Henning explains how discriminatory and aggressive policing has socialized a generation of Black teenagers to fear, resent, and resist the police, and she details the long-term consequences of rac­ism that they experience at the hands of the police and their vigilante surrogates. She makes clear that 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.

She examines the criminalization of Black adoles­cent play and sexuality, and of Black fashion, hair, and music. She limns the effects of police presence in schools and the depth of police-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.

"We've long needed a great book on race and the juvenile legal system. Thanks to Kris Henning, we have it. Deeply researched and passionately argued, 'The Rage of Innocence' details how we criminalize Black children--and explains how we can stop." --James Forman, Jr., J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, Yale Law School, and Pulitzer-prize winning author of "Locking Up Our Own"

Order The Rage of Innocence from Left Bank Books