My thoughts are scattered, my eyes burn, and my heart hurts. The murder of George Floyd created a shockwave that erupted tensions across the world but particularly in American communities. I can’t put all my perspectives into one, long, analytical article. However, over the next few days, I hope to share with your snippets of my thoughts, looking at specific aspects of the current situation in America and sharing what I believe. I will continue to listen. I will never understand, but I will continue to listen.

 #ACAB

This hashtag has been prominent on social media over the past week. It has been used underneath black lives matter posts and pictured on buildings and cars which have been spray painted.

Many people think the hashtag stands for, “All Cops Are Bad”. This is a common belief among those on social media, however; it is not the case. Instead, it actually stands for, “All Cops Are Bastards”. The term, in theory, does not seek to attack good cops but highlight that all cops are bastards because they enforce a corrupt legal system. The hashtag is an attack on the police as an institution which has been seen as abusive and corrupt.

This hashtag troubles me, and I’ll tell you why.

The actual meaning of the hashtag is difficult to find. It’s taken me 6 days of seeing the hashtag before I found someone explaining what it means and that it isn’t an attack on the police personally. Has the original meaning of the hashtag been lost? I can’t say for sure, so I won’t comment on that question further, but it is something to consider.

Regardless, the hashtag becomes an easy acronym to vent your anger without looking at the complexity of law enforcement and the commonality between protestors and police officers. Currently, each side is looking for ways to simplify the other side, and this hashtag achieves that aim. I am not saying that the original meaning behind the hashtag is incorrect, but I am saying that these slogan’s neglect the complexities and commonalities between protestors and police officers by pinning the two sides against each other.

I am concerned the initial meaning of this hashtag has been lost in the chaos. I am concerned that this hashtag will lead to more hatred towards police officers, further negatively impacting police-community relations. I am concerned that this hashtag does not reduce the divide within American communities.

For those using the hashtag, what is your purpose? What do you hope to achieve in promoting #ACAB to the world? If you are looking for short-term solutions, I agree that it might raise awareness and investigations into the legal system. But, if you are looking for long-term solutions and permanent change, I don’t see how a sentiment of hatred transforms into communities of peace.

4 thoughts on “#ACAB

  1. You make a good point but I suspect many first nation Australians would understand that # perfectly. This is a good time to have conversations about systemic racism and what it means. And yes I think that # can cause confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t spoken to enough people, but yes I’m sure some of them would understand the hashtag. But, my argument is more future-focused on how does it contribute to solving the issues of racial inequality and police brutality that we have in Australia and obviously in America. I’m still not convinced it helps. What do you think?

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      1. Yes I agree it is not a constructive phrase, it does not really contribute to solving the problem but I suspect it has a cathartic value for those directly affected, sometimes it is hard for people to see past that anger and it is passion that drives change.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes I agree it can have a special meaning and relationship for some people. I think passion certainly inspires change, the challenge for the world will be sustaining the passion for the entire journey, that will be the challenge.

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