Young says calls to defund the police are about reform and regulation

June 16, 2020

An article in Bridge news on June 15 says that “as thousands of protesters across Michigan and the nation march against racial injustice and police brutality, one policy proposal has emerged as a rallying cry: defund the police.”

Ford School faculty by courtesy Alford Young was quoted as saying that calls to defund the police are less “a dollars and cents issue” and more an issue of “social control and regulation.” That’s why the majority of those calling to defund the police aren’t actually asking to disband all law enforcement, he said.

“I think for a lot of people, there's a feeling that the police department, functioning effectively, can contribute to the public good,” Young said.

Activists want “a police force that adheres to policies that demonstrate some kind of sanction for abuse and increase the ability of police to respond in a healthy fashion,” he said.

The article can be seen here.

Alford A. Young, Jr. is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Sociology and a professor of African and African American studies, with a courtesy appointment at the Ford School. He serves as associate director of U-M's Center for Social Solutions and faculty director for scholar engagement and leadership at Michigan's National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID). He has pursued research on low-income, urban-based African Americans, employees at an automobile manufacturing plant, African American scholars and intellectuals, and the classroom-based experiences of higher-education faculty as they pertain to diversity and multiculturalism. He employs ethnographic interviewing as his primary data collection method. His objective in research on low-income African American men, his primary area of research, has been to argue for a renewed cultural sociology of the African American urban poor. Young received an MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.