Multiple reports have confirmed that the majority of racial justice organizers behind the “Defund the Police” movement are changing tactics. Following years of scholarship, advocacy, and organizing aimed at rethinking public safety, activists are heading back to the drawing board after hearing what some guy had to say on the topic.
The guy in question is Murphy Johnson, a white man who spent the first 30 years of his life never thinking about, discussing, or studying racism, but who has nonetheless spent the past few weeks explaining racism to Black people who have never been able to escape it. And while the Arizona State communications major has never been to a protest, nor participated in any kind of activist movement, he is confident that racial justice activists are doing racial justice activism wrong.
“I agree that racism and police violence are bad, totally,” Johnson recently commented on a Movement For Black Lives Facebook post. “I just think that all the anger and extreme calls to defund the police are detracting from your message.”
Yes! This is the exact kind of energy we need right now!
In various social media posts and conversations with Uber drivers, Johnson maintains that #DefundThePolice is poorly thought out, unrealistic, and unpopular, despite the fact that Black Lives Matter has been advocating for it for years, many cities are already taking action to defund their police forces, and the Black Lives Matter movement is more widely supported now than it has ever been.
“We thought that defunding the police was an appropriate response to the horrific violence that Black people have faced for centuries, and we had a plan to make it happen,” said an unnamed leader within the Black Lives Matter movement. “Thank God some guy came along and explained why everything we’ve been working toward was actually bad.”
When asked what he recommends as an alternative to current anti-racism efforts, and what he has done to help combat racism himself, Johnson was a little less clear.
“Uh, I mean, I guess just try some reforms, maybe?” he said. “Body cams, has anyone tried that? Oh shoot, I have to go. Bummer!”
Unfortunately, our interview with Murphy was short. He reportedly spent the rest of his afternoon on Twitter, explaining effective methods of civil disobedience to Martin Luther King’s daughter.