Questions for ‘Discriminatory policing takes a toll on teens and tweens’

a person facing wearing a hoody and a backpack is standing with their hands in the air facing away from the camera and toward bright lights

Teens and tweens of color face higher risks of getting hurt in encounters with police than do white youths their age.

Михаил Руденко/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

To accompany Discriminatory policing takes a toll on teens and tweens’  


Before Reading:

  1. What is racial discrimination and why can it be so hurtful?
  2. Racism is often described in terms of how white people treat Black people. In addition to Black people, who are some other groups that can be hurt by racial discrimination? Name as many as you can.

During Reading:

  1. Between 2003 and 2018, how many kids 12 to 17 years old died in police encounters throughout the United States?
  2. Are boys or girls more likely to be physically hurt in police encounters in the United States? How does the rate of harm vary by race and age?
  3. Dominique Johnson says teens can be “dehumanized from Blackness.” What does she mean by that?
  4. Monique Jindal argues that children of color may be affected so severely by police actions that they no longer feel able to just be kids. Where does she note that such interactions with the police play occur?
  5. What does Kriszta Farkas mean when she says some police interactions indicate officers have “adultified” kids?
  6. Philip Atiba Goff says that the so-called nine-cities study showed that although childhood is somewhat protective, “whiteness is more protective than childhood.” What did he mean by that?

After Reading:

  1. What is your image of the police and how safe do you feel in the company of police officers? Explain the basis of those feelings. Cite any particular events that may have shaped your views.
  2. Any child might one day face a run-in with the law. Based on what you read in this story, what strategies would you recommend for speaking to or interacting with police officers — and why? What are at least two things you would not recommend doing — and why?