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"Torn Apart": Dorothy Roberts on racial disparities in foster care

Dorothy Roberts_TornApart_photo credit Chris Crisman.png
Professor Dorothy Roberts is an esteemed scholar of race, law and society at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of several ground-breaking books exploring the intersection of race, medicine and bioethics. (photo by Chris Crisman; book image courtesy BasicBooks)

Tom's guest today is Dorothy Roberts, a professor of law and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of four books, including Killing the Black Body, about systemic abuse of African American women, and Fatal Invention, which explores the relationship between race, science and politics.

Her new book argues that the nation's foster care system, putatively designed to protect children, instead deprives Black parents of fundamental rights and leads to traumatic consequences for Black children. The child welfare system, she argues, is “more accurately described as the family policing system,” and she calls for it to be dismantled.

The book is called Torn Apart:  How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World.

Dorothy Roberts joins us on Zoom from Philadelphia.

You're welcome to join the conversation. Call: 410.662.8780. email: [email protected]. Tweet: @MiddayWYPR

A week from Thursday, on May 5th, Dorothy Roberts will be the keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and its Department of the History of Medicine, called Reckoning with Race and Racism in Academic Medicine — another subject on which Professor Roberts has written extensively. For more information on the in-person and virtual symposium and for a link to register, click here.

Audio will be posted here later this afternoon.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.