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How do we think about institutional racism in the American police force? Show more Show less
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On June 8 2020, Minneapolis City Council announced it would be dismantling its police force. In its place, they pledged to introduce a new model for public safety, free from the institutional racism that had plagued its police. The decision was unprecedented, and yet, it has been followed by similar moves across the US, for police budget cuts and investigations into how they are run. At the heart of this debate is the question of institutional racism: where it comes from, how it manifests, and how it can be overcome. Following George Floyd's murder, pressure has grown for perceived systemic oppression to be addressed. Others argue that this is a myth, and that police are being victimised for the ills of society. The way that people are mobilising around this question reveals the fundamental ideas that drive their perspectives. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

'The police are not the issue!': The police should not be blamed for the problems of a racialized society Show more Show less

This position believes that the police are the standard bearers of law and order. Limited government is fundamental to protect individual liberty. Strong police are required to protect limited government. Whether institutional racism is real, or a myth, focusing on the role of the police is both misleading and counterproductive.
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Defunding the police will lead to vigilantism

Calls to abolish the police are short-sighted. As the George Floyd riots have shown us, people are predisposed to looting, violence and lawlessness. Without police the country will descend into chaotic vigilantism, the effects of which will devastate generations to come. Proponents include Attorney General William Barr.

The Argument

Defunding the police will cause more harm to public safety than good, and will up-end the country’s ability to enforce laws. Using Mexico as a prime example, a lack of structured and well-funded police will lead to an increase of vigilantism with no one around to reinforce the laws in the wake of the inevitable breaking of them. Often vigilante groups blur the lines between who is attempting to uphold the law and who is breaking it, leading to uncontrollable chaos.[1] With no one to call for help in the event of a crime, many people will have to rely on the goodwill and community efforts of others to deal with crime, which is not often successful. [2] Most Americans agree that defunding the police is a bad idea and is unpopular across all racial groups. [3] This agenda has been pushed by left-leaning and liberal political groups who are ignoring the wishes of society in order to appeal to those who support them. [4]

Counter arguments

Defunding the police would not lead to vigilantism, but instead would lead to an increase in community programs and organizations that aim to reduce and prevent crime locally with the funds previously used for police departments. Previous efforts to reform police have failed and tension between police and minority communities continues to escalate. The defunding would, for example, cut the budget for chemical agents such as tear gas for police, preventing unnecessary harm against the public.[5]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/09/if-you-want-to-know-what-disbanding-the-police-looks-like-look-at-mexico/
  2. https://www.city-journal.org/defunding-police-not-the-answer
  3. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/13/18193661/hire-police-officers-crime-criminal-justice-reform-booker-harris
  4. https://www.foxnews.com/us/police-abolish-video-black-lives-matter-new-york-city
  5. https://time.com/5849495/black-lives-matter-defund-police-departments/

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 5 Sep 2020 at 19:27 UTC

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