Does America Back the Blue?


source: FLICKR

Jacynda Klunk

Do you back the blue? This question is only five words, but hides so much meaning behind it. However, the answer is formed depending on one’s views. 

Law enforcement has been a huge organization since the beginning of America. Their purpose is to protect and serve. But due to recent events, some are questioning if they protect their communities. 

Recently, a matter of police brutality and racial injustice was brought to the attention of the citizens of America. Protests and riots began, destruction, and media polarity came soon after. 

A Black, 46 year old man, George Floyd, died and a video capturing his death surfaced.  The video showed a police officer leaning on his neck for an extended period of time.  The video went viral on mainstream media and generated support of the Black Lives Matter movement.  

What’s the point of the movement? According to the Black Lives Matter website, the people of the movement are “committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.” They are fighting to be equal, to be respected, and their goal is to get justice for any unjustified Black victims of police brutality. 

Many involved in the movements have called for defunding the police.  This is a huge idea because police are seen as fundamental.  The Black Lives Matter movement is challenging that concept.  

For many, defunding the police is a questionable act. Defunding the police would leave many communities vulnerable, while wealthier communities will fill in the gap because they can afford private security. 

In his article “What Does ‘Defund the Police’ Mean and Does it Have Merit?” Rashawn Ray explains that “Defund the police” means reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality.¨ 

The ACLU explains what they hope this will accomplish: “By shrinking their massive budgets, we can help end decades of racially driven social control and oppression as well as address social problems at their root instead of investing in an institution that further oppresses and terrorizes communities.” 

While many will never understand the judgement that Black communities face, we can all try to make this a better America working alongside one another. Ideally, this would be accomplished without violence or safety risks. 

Many activists who feel strongly about the movement even want to abolish law enforcement all together. In his article, “The ‘Abolish The Police’ Movement, Explained by Seven Scholars and Activists,” Sean Illing explains that “by ‘abolish the police,’ I mean building a world where we do not rely on anti-Black, white supremacist institutions of order to regulate society.”

Many people are against defunding the police claiming it will only harm America.  In her article, “Defund or Dismantle the Police? What it Could Mean” Fox reporter Hollie McKay states, “to dismantle agencies filled with methodical training, operational strategies and tried and true testing – in exchange for community-driven programs that have no experience in these areas – is a ridiculous sentiment at best.” Many agree and value the protective services that the police provide.  

All in all, racial injustice is unjustifiable. However, dismantling our only source of protection can’t be the answer. Reforming and correcting abuses of power is important in any institution.  Backing the blue as they work to address issues with the help of their respective communities is the best way to enact positive change.