TORONTO, June 11, 2020 – Protesters are calling for an end to anti-Black racism, police violence and the defunding of police forces, but there is one area that is getting little attention, according to two York University researchers.
The role of police unions.
“Police unions in the United States and Canada have created a privileged status for their officers, a blue solidarity, which has led to a repression of any racial justice movements that challenge their authority,” says Associate Professor Steven Tufts of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
Has this led to stigmatization and discrimination against racialized workers and communities? Tufts and Associate Professor Mark Thomas of LA&PS believe it has. They also think it has contributed to tensions with other unions when they have spoken out about police violence against racialized communities or the handling of G20 protests in Toronto.
“This is more than just a conflict between various unions,” says Thomas. “It raises questions about the role of police unions in contributing to racial tensions, as well as in securing greater police enforcement powers, including discretion in the use of deadly force.”
Tufts and Thomas, who co-wrote the January 2020 article “Blue Solidarity: Police Unions, Race and Authoritarian Populism in North America,” can discuss the following:
- Police unions and their contribution to quelling racial justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter
- Stigmatization and discrimination of racialized workers and communities by police unions.
- Blue Lives Matter campaigns.
- Institutionalized racism.
- The rise of right-wing authoritarian populism.
York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.
Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-272-6317, firstname.lastname@example.org