Shortly after the election posts about the Brexit safety-pin movement were being shared all across social media. Those who are scared that they are facing persecution or at the very least more judgement or ridicule were/are looking for safe places to go, they are looking for allies. If you look at the uprise of violence in the UK after Brexit, the safety-pin was a way of showing that someone was a safe harbor of sorts. If you saw someone wearing this token of solidarity, you would know that they would love you just as you are or at least they were a safe person.
I personally think this is beautiful that the US has adopted this in theses times. We are seeing so much violence and hate filled crimes across our nation right now after Trump’s win. Both sides are equally being evil to each other. I’ve seen anti-Trump people burning American flags, drawing swastika’s on people’s Trump signs, and riots breaking out during what’s meant to be peaceful protesting. All over the media we have seen hateful graffiti against immigrants, we have seen violence in our high schools, people are being told to “go home” (whether or not they were born here, if they look different they must not belong right? WRONG!) Our nation is a cesspool of hate right now. It’s a scary place.
I am a middle class white female with 3 beautiful little girls. These crimes aren’t directed at me. But I am still scared. I have friends that fall under these discriminations. I have friends who are afraid to leave their homes for anything other than the necessary going to and from work. Even at work they hear people saying things under their breaths like “that’s one more job that will open up under Trump’s rule”. God even hearing that phrasing, “under Trump’s rule” makes me sick. I see friend’s of mine worried sick that their newly gained rights will be ripped from them, legally tearing their families apart. A marriage certificate might just be a piece of paper but the right to that paper means more than any of us can imagine that have had this right all along.
This is why people are wearing safety pins. They are a way of saying “I see you, I’m here if you need me.” And yet, there is a lot of negativity popping up.
An article on Vox.com states
“Wearing a safety pin began as a gesture of kindness. But some people also see it as a performative, bullshit type of “slacktivism,” arguing that it allows people to pat themselves on the back without actually trying to fix the problems they say are important.”
I saw a few people with the same kind of backward thinking talking crap about when everyone was checking into Standing Rock on Facebook. Was it doing anything productive? Not in the way the original post stated. But what it was doing was raising awareness and showing just how many people are standing in support. Yes, there are productive ways to support these causes. For Standing Rock, petitions were/are being passed around. There are numerous places you can donate to. And there are people who are there protesting. Does that make the check-ins a waste of time? Maybe but maybe not.
These anti-establishment type people who are calling these kind gestures are almost all white males who have probably never struggled a day in their lives. Not like those who are struggling with racism and sexism and heterosexism. Case in point, Christopher Keelty of Huffington Post. He very clearly draws the racial line right in the title line of his article- “Dear White People, Your Safety Pins Are Embarrassing”. Guess what Mr. Keelty, I have seen countless posts from people thanking everyone (not just “white people” for wearing their safety-pins) These people writing these posts on social media are the ones that need that little symbol of hope, that symbol of unity. And people like you are what’s wrong with this world. Just because YOU don’t see how it could help, doesn’t mean it doesn’t. Just because YOU aren’t being targeted, doesn’t mean someone you care about isn’t out there looking for an ally.
“Wow. I am not white, and I think ANYONE who wish to show solidarity should go ahead and wear safety pins. You can’t blame all of white people in this country for what we are facing. Pointing fingers and creating a barrier does not help anything.”
“wow, i totally dissagree with you. and who gave you the authority to decide how other people should or should not show their support? are you going to tell me not to wear a rainbow to support gay rights? not to wear my feminist regalia to support women’s rights? why does this safetypin thing have you so flustered? because you don’t have the guts to wear one yourself? because maybe you are the one who needs to sit in your guilt? don’t lash out at others who are showing thier love and solidarity and support. you don’t know what you are talking about. shame on you. go sit in your guilt and hate and feel bad about what you’ve done. i’m going out and protest for my rights, for my fellow citizen’s rights and for my country. and i’m wearing the pin.”
“While there are too many people responding to this article with some version of: not all white people are the same, the real issue I see here is that the writer is a white man who has most likely had the privilege of seldom needing to seek an ally in a moment of uncertainty. I’d be willing to hear the argument from someone qualified to make it. My instinct is that it was ill conceived.”
“Man must behave like a lighthouse; he must shine day and night for the goodness of everyman.”
― Mehmet Murat ildan