A closer look at the ACAB ideology


Emma Tea, Staff Writer

With the growing racial tensions in America’s political climate, it’s almost impossible to ignore the numerous movements sweeping the nation and taking up new supporters. One of the most prominent of these movements is ACAB, and many of its newfound supporters come from our own generation – Generation Z.

While many stories and posts on social media platforms advocate to “spread awareness” with little to no context, it’s important to know the real meaning behind a movement. 

One of these many movements is ACAB, an acronym that stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.” According to GQ, this term was originally coined in the second half of the twentieth century by skinheads, a subculture of punk that has a history of run-ins with the law. However, over the years, this term has been adapted and popularized by internet forums and, most recently, the reemergence of the Black Lives Matter Movement and its wildfire-like spread through internet sensationalism and social media.

Although it may seem intimidating at first glance, ACAB is not a personal attack against all police officers. This misconception has caused this movement to be demonized, but this is not a true reflection of the community of people who support it. 

The term ACAB refers to the bastardization, or the deterioration of the justice system police work for, rather than the individuals themselves. Many supporters of ACAB and “Defund the Police,” a movement to reallocate police funding that is often paired with ACAB beliefs, agree that the modern-day justice system has been corrupted with systemic racism or other deeply rooted problems, and therefore agree that it needs to be reconstructed to better fit the needs of the people. 

The presence of systemic racism in the American justice system is one of the main arguments that ACAB supporters use to justify their claims of a bastardized policing system. Instances of this may include over-policing in neighborhoods of color, underpolicing in predominantly white neighborhoods, the exploitation of prison labor, and the brutalization of people of color by police. 

While these are all issues in and of themselves that are often argued by many different ideologies of the time, ACAB encompasses all of these ideals and overlaps with multiple groups, including Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police. Even though these are controversial, they are often more accepted despite having various ties with ACAB ideology. The use of the term ACAB should be less stigmatized and normalized as another symbol for police reform.