Jun 14, 2022
In this episode we interview Dr. Dorothy Roberts.
Dorothy Roberts is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society. The author of four books, including Killing the Black Body, Fatal Invention and Shattered Bonds. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In this conversation we’re honored to host Dr. Dorothy Roberts to discussed her latest book Torn Apart: How The Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build A Safer World.
We talk to Dr. Roberts about how family policing or the so-called child welfare system functions within a larger carceral web in the United States. She talks about the geographic zones of family policing and discusses the origins of our family policing system in slavery, settler colonialism and Elizabethan poor laws.
Roberts discusses the deep ableism that undergirds the family policing system and talks about how family policing has been a frontline for the war on drugs. She talks about how the system overwhelmingly disrupts predominantly Black and Brown families in the US, along with those of poor white people, noting that it also criminalizes children and is in many ways indistinguishable from other parts of the prison industrial complex.
Along the way, Dr. Roberts lifts up the many struggles of families against this system, with stories of the ways the system terrorizes families, as well as the many ways that people are organizing against the system. As we close the conversation, these examples of resistance, mutual aid and organizing provide a foundation for building a reality in which family policing is abolished and replaced by a much more powerful network of care that is more effective at preventing and resolving issues of familial violence and abuse.
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