“The police have not just been incidentally tainted by racism,” Oliver pointed out. “For much of U.S. history, law enforcement meant enforcing laws that were explicitly designed to subjugate Black people.”
That, he said, means more than just weeding out a “bad apple,” but rather dismantling an entire system ― and replacing it with something that more effectively serves the communities.
The police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis set off a wave of protests around the country, with “defund the police” as one of the rallying cries.
Oliver pointed out that many on the right have seized on the slogan as meaning that people want to do away with police altogether, and played a clip of Fox News host Tucker Carlson arguing exactly that.
“No more cops,” Carlson declared.
At first, Oliver feigned sympathy for Carlson and offered him some suggestions on how to destress.
“Just kidding,” Oliver said, breaking the moment. “Fuck you forever, Tucker Carlson, you sentient polo mallet.”
Then, he dismantled Carlson’s talking points.
“Defunding the police absolutely does not mean that we eliminate all cops and just succumb to the purge,” he said. “Instead, it’s about moving away from a narrow conception of public safety that relies on policing and punishment and investing in a community’s actual safety net.”
See more of his discussion below: