‘Defund the police’ slogan is too broad


Midway Staff

“Defund the Police” should be replaced by multiple, more specific slogans that clearly communicate its cause, argues reporter Sandra Mordi

Sandra Mordi, Reporter

After the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer on May 25, 2020, protests across the United States sparked. Soon, the slogan “Defund the Police,” aimed at stopping police violence, especially against Black people, became not only quickly popular but quickly controversial, even in progressive circles.

To stop the contention surrounding “Defund the Police,” it should be replaced by multiple, more specific slogans that clearly communicate its cause to get spread out over time.

Some believe that the disputes caused by “Defund the Police” are good for its cause, claiming that it makes the slogan harder to ignore. While inflammatory language can be useful for movements, “Defund the Police” is too unpopular, even among the Black people it supports, with some polls in 2021 showing that only 23% of Black respondents support decreased police funding. With such mass unpopularity, it would be detrimental to continue using the slogan, especially because it could be changed easily.

Using more specific slogans than “Defund the Police” will resolve one of the main debates surrounding it: its meaning. Many activists believe that defunding the police means investing in alternative policing. Others believe it means completely cutting off police funding. Others think it means abolishing the police completely. Because people cannot agree on the slogan’s meaning, it is harder to accurately communicate to people in power what should be done about police violence, which stalls progress. 

Using multiple slogans over time instead of one general slogan like “Defund the Police” would highlight all the little, more actionable steps needed to make change rather than one big step that may be hard to address until other actions are taken. 

Many Democrats who oppose police violence also oppose “Defund the Police,” including President Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama, who called it a “snappy slogan.” Slogans should unite people behind a cause they believe in. If they bring too much debate, even in the circles that support their base ideals, they should be done away with and replaced.

There is an increasing popularity of new social media platforms where political slogans are spread and more murders of Black people by white police officers each year. So, it is time to take action by using slogans that will bring about change, not contention.