Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked what defunding the police would look like, and responds: 'a suburb'

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, concepts once considered the preserve of radical politics are making their way into mainstream conversation.

Like “defunding” or “abolishing” the police.

These mean two different things, although are sometimes mistakenly used synonymously.

Defunding the police means reducing and reallocating existing police funding. It’s a more reformist approach.

Abolishing the police means making the work police do obsolete altogether and creating a new entirely new system. This is the end goal of many but takes years more work of social reform.

Naturally, some people are confused at the different definitions flying about.

Which is why an explanation given by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of what defunding the police means, is proving very helpful.

Posting on her Instagram stories, AOC answered a question sent to her that read: “What does an America with defunded police look like to you?”

AOC’s answer was simple and direct.

“It looks like a suburb,” she wrote.

She continued:

Affluent white communities already live in a world where they choose to fund youth, health, housing etc more than they fund police. 

These communities have lower crime rates not because they have more police but bc they have more resources to support healthy society in a way that reduces crime. 

When a teen or a preteen does something harmful in a suburb (I say teen because this is often when lifelong carceral cycles begin for Black and Brown communities). 

White communities bend over backwards to find alternatives to incarceration for their loves ones to “protect their future”, like community service or rehab or restorative measures. 

Why don’t we treat Black and Brown people the same way? 

Why doesn’t the criminal system care about Black teens’ futures the way they care for White teens’ futures? 

Why doesn't the news use Black people’s graduation photos or family photos in stories they way they do when they cover White people (e.g Brock Turner) who commit harmful crimes? 

Affluent White suburbs also design their own lives so that they walk through the world without having much interrupt or interaction with police at all, aside from community events and speeding tickets (and many of these communities try to reduce these too!). 

Just starting THERE would be a dramatically and radically different world than what we’re experiencing now. 

Nailed it.

Others were struck by the analogy too and when AOC’s answer was shared to Twitter, it received thousands of shares.

“This is so spot on,” wrote one person.

Another called it “very, very clever”.

Defunding the police is not even just a pipe dream anymore; in cities across America, authorities are looking at how to implement the idea.

And Louisville, San Francisco and Minneapolis have all taken steps to reforming or disbanding the police altogether.

If only AOC was giving answers like that from a White House podium...

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