Protectors or Enforcers?

Exploring the Impacts of Militarization and Hyper-Masculine Subcultures in Policing Marginalized Communities in Canada


  • Waniza Wasi University of Alberta



police militarization, Law Enforcement, settler-colonialism, policing practices, hyper-masculine subcultures, thin blue line, colonization, BIPOC communities


This essay examines the complex relationship between contemporary law enforcement practices and Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities in Canada, focusing on hyper-masculine subcultures and militarized tactics. Using case studies, such as the death of Ejaz Chaudry and the criminalization of Wet'suwet'en land defenders, this paper analyzes the historical and colonial roots shaping policing practices. The study finds persistent over-policing and discriminatory practices on marginalized communities, emphasizing the urgent need for reform. Exploring the interplay of hyper-masculinity, militarization, and colonial biases, the essay discusses how symbols like the thin blue line contribute to an 'us versus them' mentality, reinforcing militaristic culture. The transnational dimensions of police militarization, influenced by historical and contemporary ties to settler-colonial practices, reveal how shared colonial legacies contribute to the perpetuation of militaristic approaches in law enforcement. Cases like Chaudry and Wet'suwet'en land defenders highlight the devastating consequences of militarized responses, urging comprehensive reforms. This essay acknowledges that while guardian approaches are more favorable in lieu of the outdated warrior mindset, the former community-oriented models still possess limitations. Despite this recognition, the essay contributes to the discourse on redefining policing practices, rebuilding community relations, and fostering a more just, equitable, and community-focused future in law enforcement.