Separating children from their families has been a tool used by the government for centuries to terrorize and police communities of color. That’s the topic of Laura Briggs’s new book, Taking Children: A History of American Terror.
Today, we welcome Professor Briggs back on the show with us to discuss this history, including the criminalization of Black, Latinx, and Native families, social workers as agents of white supremacy, “crack babies” and stereotypes surrounding Black motherhood in the 1980s, the end of welfare, boarding schools and the taking of Native children, and ongoing family separation at the U.S. southern border.
Laura Briggs is professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2002), Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption (Duke University Press, 2012), How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (University of California Press, 2017), and Taking Children: A History of American Terror (University of California Press, 2020).