11.12.2016

#TheAmericaWeWant: Safety


You may have seen someone wearing a safety pin, but didn't know what it meant.

After "Brexit," many British people and immigrants were victim to racist and xenophobic attacks. Someone came up with a small way to show solidarity and support - a safety pin. Wearing a safety pin meant that you were an ally and that others were safe with you.

Over the last few days there have been a lot of reported hate crimes and attacks in the U.S. Unfortunately Donald Trump's hateful and racist rhetoric has given a lot of bigots the impression that it's totally okay to openly be a bigot now. So some people have adopted the #safetypin idea here in the U.S.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, wanting to show people that you're on their side is a good thing. On the other, much like signing a petition, this is really bare minimum kind of stuff. You don't get to just put on a pin and call it a day and think you're an ally. It takes a lot more than that. Now, I've been saying the last few days that it's okay if you're still mourning and aren't ready to leap into action. We all have to grieve in our own way and this is a fucking rough time. So if you're white and you want to show people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, etc. that you're an ally - great, wear a safety pin, it doesn't hurt anyone to do that. If even one person feels a little bit safer walking down the street because they see your pin, then that's great. But it's temporary.

But if you're going to wear the symbol of an ally, you also have to actually be an ally. You have to also do the work. You have to call out racism when you see it. You have to educate those around you (and yourself). You have to fight to create actual change. You have to do the work it will take to fix this fucked up world.

It's not enough to show people they're safe with you. You have to help make this a nation where they can always be safe.

If you still need a little time to recover from the tragedy that was November 8th before you get out there on the front lines, that's okay. These wounds are fresh, but they will heal and when they do, if you want to be an ally, be an ally. Don't just sign a petition or write a blog post or wear a pin.

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