Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah recently weighed in on the RCMP union’s endorsement of the ‘thin blue line’ symbol in an article titled “RCMP union pushes back against ban on ‘thin blue line’ symbol, says it has ordered custom patches” by Douglas Quan on The Star. In the article, he explains what the symbol means in today’s society and why he believes that it must go.
Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus. His research focuses on the intersection of race, policing, and social justice. Professor Owusu-Bempah frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets regarding topics of race, policing, and social justice.
We have included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full post on The Star here.
RCMP union pushes back against ban on ‘thin blue line’ symbol, says it has ordered custom patches
By Douglas Quan
Mon., Oct. 12, 2020
The union representing RCMP members is pushing back against a directive issued by management banning officers from wearing or displaying controversial “thin blue line” patches while on duty, calling them an “important and selfless” symbol.
In fact, the National Police Federation told its 20,000 members in a weekend letter that it has ordered custom thin blue line patches for all front-line officers that are expected to arrive in weeks.
Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a University of Toronto sociology professor specializing in race and criminal justice research, said Monday that RCMP management did the right thing issuing the ban and that the union’s stance is out of touch with prevailing public sentiment.
“They’re going to be on the wrong side of history. I just don’t understand why they’re not engaging in a more positive manner and putting policing in a better — rather than a worse — position,” he said.