If I see one more damn post about these damn safety pins…
So last week, Donald Trump was named President-Elect.
As expected, there was a major backlash from it from basically anyone who isn’t straight, white, cis, and able bodied/minded. People don’t want a man that’s been preaching hate to mass groups of people as their president (I’m with them there).
Intersectional groups instantly feared for their safety. Attacks against said intersectional groups started not even hours after Hillary Clinton conceded. Fear grew, and allies started looking for ways to show their support to intersectional groups.
Someone out there came up with this idea to wear a safety pin as a symbol of safety. The safety pin would be a heads up to intersectional groups that this person is a safe person to be around and they support you and your struggle.
Sounds nice, right?
So, there’s been major backlash to this idea and I’ll be honest I very tired of this conversation. So I’m going to write all of my thoughts here, and be done with it.
Here’s why the safety pin doesn’t work.
If I am being attacked, the last thing I’m going to do during an adrenaline induced panicked frenzy is look for a person with a safety pin. Which is fine, because what is SUPPOSED to happen is that person with the safety is supposed to help you out in whatever altercation you find yourself in. However that’s not what actually happens.
Fear for the ally sets in. Panic for the ally sets in. They worry about themselves getting hurt. They worry about being arrested. They worry about their families and their problems and while it’s all valid, someone is being attacked right in front of them.
So that paralyzes the ally and stops them from acting, while the intersectional person is still harmed.
This proves that the safety is moreso for white ego versus intersectional safety, and can then only be taken at face value.
People think the safety pin is enough just as they think changing their profile picture filter is enough.
Saying “I support you,” isn’t enough, not when you can easily google what you can do past talking. Not when there are intersectional people in need of funds to relocate to safer areas who need donations. Not when someone’s life is in danger.
Now for me, someone yelling “HEY ASSHOLE STOP THAT-” and then coming in to help me out is ten times more effective than someone standing there watching and wearing a safety pin. I’m more likely to trust the person yelling and jumping in than the person trying to figure out what to do with the safety pin.
I pointed this out on a couple posts, and I have had people say “Well, not everyone can just jump into the altercation (read: attack) like that. The safety pin is a good start,” and to which I call your bullshit.
If someone is wishing to harm an intersectional person, the last thing they’re going to consider is social decency. People want to love everyone, but people don’t want to fight to love everyone, and if they don’t lives are at stake.
My second point is how easily the safety pin could be co-opted, and apparently it’s already happening.
I’ve seen people say it’s unlikely someone will go that far out of their way to harm someone, and I don’t think they realize something.
A, safety pins are easy as hell to buy and they’re cheap.
B, an ally doesn’t have a specific look. Anyone can be an ally as anyone can be a bigot. There’s no physical differences between the two so there’s no way to look and tell.
C, expecting intersectional people to just trust you because you have a safety pin on is the height of white privilege.
D, If someone wants to harm you, they will do whatever it takes to harm you. That could include following you home, stalking you, stalking social media, hurting you family, burning your house, raping you and or the people around you just to get to you, and if they’re willing to do all that I’m pretty sure they’re willing to put a damn safety pin on their sweater.
The fact that the safety pin could be co-opted was my first thought when I saw this circulating.
I am not going to trust you just because you have a safety pin.
If you are looking to harm me and I automatically trusted it, that would create a false sense of security and make it ten times easier for them to get to me.
Those are my two major problems with this whole safety pin issue, and they’re both 100% valid and true.
If you’re an ally and you still choose to wear a safety pin, do it. I don’t care. If you’re going to choose to ignore all the intersectional voices calling it out and you’re going to do what you want, do it. Flex your privilege. I don’t give a damn because it doesn’t change anything for me in the end as much as you want it to.
But, I will tell you this:
If you aren’t prepared to square up with someone who is looking to harm an intersectional person, take the damn pin off because you are not an ally, and you have a lot of work to do if you’re truly trying to be one.
So the TLDR;; square up or shut up.