In Stop Trying to Fix Policing: Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of Black
Liberation, Tony Gaskew guides readers through the phenomena of police abolition,
using the cultural lens of the Black radical tradition. The author weaves an electrifying
combination of critical race theory, spiritual inheritance, decolonization,
self-determination, and armed resistance, into a critical autoethnographic journey that
illuminates the rituals of revolution required for dismantling the institution of American
policing. Stop Trying to Fix Policing is an essential work for anyone who wants to go
beyond the rhetoric of police reform, to the next step: contributing to the formation of a
world without policing.
Tony Gaskew is professor of criminal justice, affiliate faculty of Africana studies, director of the criminal justice program, and founding director of the prison education program at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford.
Chapter 1: Learning to Speak the Language of Police Abolition
Chapter 2: Unfriending Policing
Chapter 3: Decolonizing the State Narrative
Chapter 4: Community Self-Determination
Chapter 5: Black Armed Resistance
About the Author
Some might claim that this short book is just a polemic, not to be taken as seriously as standard criminological research conducted according to conventions of objectivity and detachment. However, the author would rightly maintain that such rhetoric disguises a deferential commitment to a brutal status quo. In fact, Gaskew pursues a key principle of good sociological practice here, namely, that it is more important to focus on outcomes rather than official discourses. Gaskew applies this method to policing, identifying key myths, such as that policing is dangerous for police, that it is an effective mechanism for public safety, that police are at risk of disciplinary action, and, most critically, that police reform is possible. In fact, policing is rooted in legacies of white supremacy and violence. Grounding his argument in critical race theory, Gaskew makes a reasonable case for abolition. Recommended.