GB chat during UPF last night

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north6

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For those that were in the GB chat night during UPF, wondering what the prevailing thought is about the roughly 10-15 minutes of "acab" dominating the chat. For those that don't know, this is one of about 20 symbols the ADL classifies as a hate symbol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_symbols_designated_by_the_Anti-Defamation_League_as_hate_symbols

I'm going to give the community the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was *not* used in the white surpremacy context that KKK skinheads members tattoo themselves with. That said, it made me extremely aware that this website has changed that I even had to ask this question. Maybe 1-2 people spoke up and said something to the effect that they weren't comfortable with the direction chat was going but were quickly drowned out, and that was that. ACAB wins, I guess.

I'm not always in UPF chat these days, but it felt like I was taken to another community entirely, wondering how off base I am with this sentiment.

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Sahalarious

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I'd only heard of ACAB as more of a punk rock fuck tha police sort of thing, had no idea until now that it was part of the KKK repertoire. I'm going to just hope thats the same context, the social justice protesting of "the man" is a way easier pill to swallow than hate speech on GB.

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Epidehl

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#3  Edited By Epidehl

This came up once before during a At Night E3 segment when a guest said it aloud (during a discussion about Spider-Man), which was the first I'd heard it, and I'm very much willing to give the community the benefit of the doubt on this as it very much seemed to be coming from a place of supporting minority groups who are unfairly/unjustly targeting be police.

That said, broad, declarative statements like it are always a little off-putting, personally, but it's hard to argue too hard against the sentiment.

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BisonHero

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Huh, didn’t know it had any real attachment to racial hate groups.

In my own experience, the only people I’ve seen say stuff like ACAB are overzealous communists who are very anti-capitalism, and denounce everything to do with cops and the military in Western countries as being tools of capitalist power structures. This position is not my cup of tea, but I guess I see the set of beliefs that brought them to this conclusion.

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BonelessSpirit

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#5  Edited By BonelessSpirit

I think you are confusing the old skinhead culture with white supremacy skinheads. There is a clear difference there.

The originating skinhead subculture formed in England was anti-racist.

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konig_kei

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The acronym ACAB stands for "All Cops Are Bastards" and is a slogan of long standing in the skinhead subculture. Because non-racist skinheads (including "traditional" skinheads and anti-racist skinheads) may use this acronym as well as racist skinheads, it should be carefully judged in the context in which it appears.

https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/acab

You've jumped the gun a bit.

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ltcolumbo

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I keep forgetting that it’s cool to hate cops but terrible to hate other people. I should get myself a neck tattoo or something to remind me.

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htr10

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My neighbor is a cop and one time a guy walked up to his car and shot his face full of birdshot for no reason other than he was a cop keeping an eye on a bad neighborhood. Nice guy. Has a 2-year-old daughter. I do not support a broad anti-cop sentiment on a video game website. Definitely don’t support a white supremacy sentiment. Not sure I follow the whole sequence of events here.

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gunflame88

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Uh, what difference it makes which kind of skinheads we're talking here if the message is the same?

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chaser324

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#10  Edited By chaser324  Moderator

I'm really only aware of it as more of a punk rock anti-cop sentiment and not any sort of affiliation with an actual hate group. I think in the context of where it was used in UPF chat, that in general no harm was intended.

I will acknowledge that the relationship between the average citizen and police is certainly a complex political situation in the US in recent years. I'll even say that I personally don't really like or trust the police. However, that said, I don't think anyone was trying to make a serious or sincere political statement in the UPF chat.

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clush

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#11  Edited By clush

@chaser324 said:

However, that said, I don't think anyone was trying to make a serious or sincere political statement in the UPF chat.

Some people definitely were. A couple of people mentioned they personally knew police officers and that they knew them to be good people, and they got shouted down pretty hard without much hint of humour or irony.

I'm all for calling out the police in an NWA kind of way, but yesterday's chat was very weird and uncomfortable.

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Onemanarmyy

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#12  Edited By Onemanarmyy  Online

yeah saw some of that during E3 too, but i figured that the influx of new folk + the subject of unionization / crunch+ the police situation in America all contributed to that and i should probably not look at it from an european perspective on police. I've seen the videos in which cops behave like fuckers, i get the sentiment.

That said, i did think that while listening to a talk about how power structures inside an organization can lead to a situation where people feel like they are required to crunch, it's dissapointing that that train of thought got disregarded the moment it's about a different profession. There didn't seem to be any thought given that the police have all kinds of social pressures working on them as well. When you have a family to support and you generally like your job, and it's the one thing that you've done since becoming an adult, are you brave enough to call out police brutality by your peers & superiors? Especially when superiors will rather get rid of you than deal with the actual problem that permeates through the organization? Looking from the sidelines, we would always prefer the most moral action. but time and time again, self-preservation is the action that people take in these situations. Most people don't have the heroic streak needed to go against the grain. Especially when they're just a lowly member of the organization and probably will fade into obscurity without a job if they do. Cowardly? Understandable?

I do hope the constant pressure on the police & the vids that showcase them doing fucked up things will apply pressure to that organization to change for the better. Get rid of the idiots that are in it to bash black people around & take advantage of young girls. It's messed up when the forces that are supposed to make the population feel safer actually makes it more dangerous.

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Rejizzle

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@onemanarmyy said:

That said, i did think that while listening to a talk about how power structures inside an organization can lead to a situation where people feel like they are required to crunch, it's dissapointing that that train of thought got disregarded the moment it's about a different profession. There didn't seem to be any thought given that the police have all kinds of social pressures working on them as well. When you have a family to support and you generally like your job, and it's the one thing that you've done since becoming an adult, are you brave enough to call out police brutality by your peers & superiors? Especially when superiors will rather get rid of you than deal with the actual problem that permeates through the organization? Looking from the sidelines, we would always prefer the most moral action. but time and time again, self-preservation is the action that people take in these situations. Most people don't have the heroic streak needed to go against the grain. Especially when they're just a lowly member of the organization and probably will fade into obscurity without a job if they do. Cowardly? Understandable?

This gets to the heart of it I think. ACAB as I understand it refers not to police officers as individuals, but to the institution that is the police. Individual officers may be perfectly nice, but as onemanarmyy says it is nearly impossible not be complicit in the negative aspects of the profession.

As for the ADL classification, it's hard for me to imagine a time when racists actually disliked cops. Nowadays they can just hide behind these institutions with seeming impunity.

Anyways, this thread will probably be locked soon, but I wouldn't worry about white supremacists infiltrating the GB chat too much. I've been coming to Giant Bomb for nearly 10 years now, and while people come and go I find it largely remains a similar community.

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SunSpark

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets uncomfortable seeing this kind of sentiment expressed in the chat. I don't doubt that a lot of these people are joking, but I think some of them are being dead serious about making sweeping generalizations like that.

This sort of thing is why I don't go into the GBI chat anymore. The lack of moderators in there has caused it be a non-stop stream of people espousing extremist beliefs without a hint of irony. I still think the majority of GB fans are perfectly friendly and rational people, but since around E3 it's starting to feel like the extremists are louder than the people who just want to talk about video games.

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chaser324

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#16 chaser324  Moderator

I'll be honest, I think not acknowledging the endemic institutional problems in law enforcement is far more problematic in 2019 than saying "fuck the police". That's not at all an "extremist" view in my opinion.

There are individual cops that are probably fine, but as an institution, there are a ton of problems that can't be ignored.

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Jesus_Phish

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I think ACAB started as more of a Punk Skinhead thing, but now I think it's very much being used by the people who are tired of cops shooting black people for being black. Sweeping statements and generalisations are terrible but maybe if they stop shooting black people for being black, the use of ACAB will go away? It's a theory worth testing.

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BladeOfCreation

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While it's true that not all American cops are intentionally engaging in racist and discriminatory behavior on a daily basis, they ARE engaging in and complicit in a system that is largely designed to target non-white citizens.

I spent two years in Iraq. I never fired my gun in anger. I did not commit any war crimes. I was still complicit in an imperialist war started because of lies.

There's a difference between individuals and institutions. I'm not sure that difference matters much to the people who are unfairly caught up in the failures of those institutions. Hence, ACAB.

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Efesell

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It is from a place of privilege that people are allowed to throw out a "Well actually.." about how some cops are just real nice guys like anyone else, or tell these personal and personable stories about individuals. To be able to complain about a blanket statement being a bit unfair.

It might all be true, but rings hollow coming from people who will more than likely never have to deal with the reality of 'why' that attitude exists in the first place.

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Humanity

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@efesell said:

It is from a place of privilege that people are allowed to throw out a "Well actually.." about how some cops are just real nice guys like anyone else, or tell these personal and personable stories about individuals. To be able to complain about a blanket statement being a bit unfair.

It might all be true, but rings hollow coming from people who will more than likely never have to deal with the reality of 'why' that attitude exists in the first place.

I'm not challenging this statement, but rather am genuinely curious: whats the difference between one group of people challenging a blanket statement with an individual "well actually" over the other group? Isn't it the same sweeping generalization just presented from a different perspective?

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chaser324

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#21  Edited By chaser324  Moderator

@humanity: No, it's really not the same. The issue with the "not all cops" perspective is that it's generally presented in a way that's dismissive of the notion that there even is a problem.

From the other side of things, you can acknowledge that some cops might be OK even while they're still being complicit in larger scale institutional issues.

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FinalDasa

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#22 FinalDasa  Moderator

Didn't know it had an association with any hate groups and the ADL specifies that anti-racist groups also use the term.

And unlike literally every other term on the ADL's list, the term didn't originate from a racist or hateful group.

I think it's a perfectly okay expression of frustration with organizations that wield power to hurt and punish others, however if it creates turmoil in chat that's not what we want either.

Honestly I'd rather not have a heated "yes they are" "no they're not" argument every time police come up. But this may also just be a sign of the times that several people who use the site have a deep issue with the police.

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Humanity

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@chaser324: So is the argument predicated on the assumption that people saying "not all cops" instinctively mean "no cops" instead?

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devise22

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@humanity: Not at all? Your taking this as some objective moral argument that those who are using the "fuck the police" mantra are doing so as a generalization towards individual police officers. The police officers many of which as lots here have indicated are not apart of the problem as individuals still represent, defend, and work in a system that is beyond broken. "Fuck the police" is essentially saying the same as "Fuck the system" in this instance.

While I can appreciate the attempt at trying to prove some sort of double standard here, it's kind of missing the point? Some millions of people do not trust the system that is the police force. They have lots of justifiable reasons for that as well. Either way, the point here isn't about whether a blanket statement of "fuck the police" has any moral or objective truth to be found from an individual perspective. It's meant to enlighten and criticize and overall system that needs to be fixed. Fixing the system, it turns out, will stop that generalization. If someone says "Fuck war" does that mean they are generalizing all military personnel as bad, or are they making a stance against the need for military personnel?

I think this issue becomes murkier only because it's not an individual level and the anti-police mantra has become so deeply rooted that it's basically a rally cry at this point. But it's all for justifiable reasons. Their have been problems up and down the the police force and justice system for decades, and it has persisted for so long that too many folks have rightfully lost trust in the systems so many see as the fabric that keeps society together/just. When you don't feel you live in a just society, a mantra like "fuck the police" isn't extreme or harsh. It's just reality. And again, it isn't to call out anyone including you for leveraging privilege, if you happen to have had good relations/a trust with police/the police force as a whole, that is great, but again, that is besides the fact that enough people haven't, that it's really not some generalization for them to rally cry against these systems they do not trust.

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Rejizzle

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@bladeofcreation:Thank you for this. I think your experience and sentiment means a lot to a lot of people right now.

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htr10

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I think there’s 3 camps here. Okay with ACAB, against ACAB, and feel what you want but maybe the GB chat isn’t the place to have this conversation. I get that the 3rd camp will piss off a lot of people, but that’s where I think I fall in the end.

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BisonHero

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@htr10: I’m kinda with you overall. Even if it’s within the rules of the site, GB chat/Twitch chat isn’t really the place for meaningful political/social discourse, especially due to the character limit and how hard it is to follow longer conversation threads.

Maybe the only exception I can think of is Will Smith’s Twitch chat, which is sitting at this weirdly perfect zone of not many viewers so the chat moves slow enough that you can read it, and median age of his viewership seems quite a bit older relative to the rest of Twitch so you can actually have meaningfully adult conversations for several minutes at a time.

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north6

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#28  Edited By north6

@bladeofcreation: Thank you for your service.

If someone wants to lock this I'm good with that.

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development

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Lol. ACAB is about as opposite of "KKK" as you get. Either someone's feeding you incorrect information or you yourself are trolling.

Don't get it twisted, folks: ACAB is a GOOD THING. ACAB.

ACAB

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Humanity

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#30  Edited By Humanity

@devise22: I wasn’t really trying to prove anything, I was just merely curious about people’s perspectives that drive this point of view. I’m a white, straight, male so in a way i feel almost inadequate to discuss this with any sort of weight. I’ve had very few direct interactions with the police but generally share a distrustful unease when dealing with them. The few times I did have to interact with police directly I thought were somewhat unhelpful. Once I was mugged and in the heat of the moment, after it was over, I foolishly called it in and was treated to a fun drive around the neighborhood with two over eager officers excitedly pointing at anyone on the sidewalk and asking “that them?” despite me clearly stating several times that my assailants wore masks. Another time I had to bribe two officers through a family connection to help me evict squatters from an apartment I inherited - it was difficult to get the police involved without the bribe.

Still I do try to separate individual incidents from the whole. In my experience nearly all large scale institutions are corrupt from the inside in some way. The school system on a collegiate level, corporations, government agencies - there are always people getting away with injustice. I do find it hard to condemn entire institutions because of the actions of individuals and not every person working for said institutions, in my eyes, is automatically complicit in their crimes. The man who writes an unjust order surely is; the person that types it and knows about it and does nothing is; but the guy in the mail room that simply puts an envelope in a mail slot? I dunno.

Still it’s interesting to see the viewpoint behind the conviction which is what I’m interested in. You often see folk throw around these terms without explaining why, and it’s the why that I generally find the most intriguing.

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arcadefire

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#31  Edited By arcadefire

@htr10 said:

My neighbor is a cop and one time a guy walked up to his car and shot his face full of birdshot for no reason other than he was a cop keeping an eye on a bad neighborhood. Nice guy. Has a 2-year-old daughter. I do not support a broad anti-cop sentiment on a video game website. Definitely don’t support a white supremacy sentiment. Not sure I follow the whole sequence of events here.

I used to train brazilian jiu jitsu with a cop (and still currently train with many people in law enforcement). The specific dude in question was the most genuinely nicest and helpful dude you could ever meet. It came to light about a year later than he used to horrifically beat his wife and kid and the PD ended up covering for him and just gave him a slap on the wrist. MCAB if anything. The ones I train with aren't any better than that other guy.

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#32  Edited By BisonHero

@development: I think it’s not helpful to anyone to just say “ACAB is a good thing. ACAB. ACAB.” It’s not some pre-established truism that everyone already understands. It seems some people in this thread would like a more nuanced explanation of this stance. I think this may also be part of OP’s problems with the chat: there wasn’t so much a discussion of the police force as a system sometimes used for oppression, so much as people just spamming ACAB like a bunch of drones. As mentioned before, I’ll concede that this is a problem with many livestream chats that people just spam stuff without having much of a discussion.

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vrkobold

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There likely wasn't much of a discussion because many people's understanding of the situation has advanced to the point that there isn't much to discuss. America's policing system is riddled with racists. At a systems-level view, it acts according to that manner, both in day-to-day officer actions and how it has historically enabled the exploitation of the labor of prisoners. A lot of people get that that is the case and don't need to discuss whether the system is fucked when they have already acknowledged that it is.

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north6

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Since this is still going... ACAB casts a wide net, and allows a lot "fisherman" to throw it. Let's assume that somehow there is broad acceptance and some positive movement from this, and it's able to divest itself from it's hate crime, prison tattoo, ADL problematic side.

Ok - now what? Do people want reform? I'm on board. How do we reform the police? I'd suggest celebration of good cops, emulating them wherever possible. Diversity, diversity, diversity, at all levels of the police force. Outreach to previously underserved or ill-policed neighborhoods. In short, I 100% support reform. Is this ACAB?

When I look at the acab subreddit, I see a different picture. Pleas to stop posting pictures of dead cops because it will get their subreddit banned, not because of any basic human decency. I see any attempt at understanding met with calls of "bootlicker". I see a slogan that wants to rip apart any and all policing. I see anarchy.

I find that arriving at a common point of agreement from which to start a discussion is generally the way to increase understanding. I don't understand ACAB, and probably never will, because I can't support something that doesn't divest itself of extremism. Best case, acab seems naive, and uninterested in actually making progress, so I'm surprised at the number of people that are clinging to it.

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Gensmoth

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#35  Edited By Gensmoth

ACAB, hth

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Rejizzle

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@north6: I'm just gonna throw some youtube videos up here that talk either specifically about ACAB or about police as an institution. A several minute video with sources can usually do a better job than a forum post an. Sorry if they're a bit long.

Here's a youtuber called Beau of the Fifth Column. Great video on police militarization, other videos in the playlist are also good.

Here's a youtuber called ThoughtSlime. I don't think you'll like ThougthSlime, but this video on acab is good and tries to explain that the dichotomy between good and bad cops is not as simple as it may appear. Stick with it at least until the part about oversight committees 5 minutes in.

Shaun has some videos that touch on cops, but here's one about Jeff Gerstmann playing Mario Party instead.

Well, I just outed myself as a big lefty. Anyways, good luck duder.

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north6

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#37  Edited By north6

@rejizzle: Thanks for the recommendations. I'm sure you know this, but to boil down what you sent me, both of the youtubers are arguing for varying flavors of anarchy.

I can't say I've ever really considered this as an alternative, beyond essentially the most nightmarish scenario I can imagine like, after nukes fall or something. Bottlecaps and all that.

Specific to what you sent me, of course I support citizen oversight committees and demilitarization of police. This is the problem though, what is being argued for, anarchy or citizen oversight committees? Those are pretty different outcomes.