Monday, November 14, 2016

Ethics - Safety Pins

Ethics - Safety Pins

I've been reading about safety pins. And I get it. I understand why.

And I disagree.

I don't disagree with the spirit of what is happening by wearing a safety pin. But I do disagree with the practicality of it. I also disagree with the shifting onus that it represents.

For those that are interested, there's a "safety pin campaign" that has been going on over the last week since the lamentable results in America. I'm not going to comment on that yet, I'm still digesting, and likely might be for the next 4 years. But that safety pin campaign says wear a visible safety pin to demonstrate to marginalized groups, (LGBTQ, Minorities, Immigrants), that you are an "Ally."

The safety pin is supposed to symbolize that you are "safe", that you are an "ally". People of those marginalized groups can come to you for safety.

Fuck off.


Take it off.

Let me explain why.

70% of white people last week just elected a racist, vitriolic demagogue. The president-elect actually promised to build a wall because he felt all Mexicans were murderers, thieves, and rapists. He said all immigrants were stealing jobs, and were terrorists in their nation. The president-elect who since taking the podium, has seen one of the sharpest rises in nation-wide hate crimes in decades.

You don't get to put a two penny pin on your clothing and say "That's not me, I'm one of the good ones."

That's fucked up. That's privilege. That's you putting on a safety pin to make yourself feel better. That's a safety pin as a safety net, a selfish demonstration of "I'm not the bad guy, I didn't make mistakes, I'm on YOUR side."

Fuck you.

Safety pins do exactly less than nothing for making marginalized people feel better, or safer, or more secure. There is a long history of privileged people doing tokenism to make themselves feel better about bad situations, and help excuse themselves from their own guilt. I'm sure lots of other white people will see your token gesture and smile. Congratulate you. Pat you on the shoulder. After all, you're in the little 'safe' club.

But to a lot of us? Your safety pin is a privilege statement that says "I deign to be helpful. Come talk to me about how helpful I can be." It puts the onus on minority groups, on the marginalized, to go to their white saviors for help.

Fuck that.

You want to help? Don't wear a safety pin. Learn about being a pro-active member of society. Intervene. Shut down intolerance. Bear witness to injustice. Educate yourself, and the people around you. Confront your own racism, marginalism, privilege. Give time, and money. Do the work to actually be inclusive.

Put on a safety pin if it makes you feel better. But to me, all it says is that you're too chickenshit to actually roll up your sleeves and get to work. Get to work actually fighting institutionalized racism. Get to work actually calling out discrimination. Get to work witnessing, intervening, supporting, helping, cleaning, assisting. Get to work just being better fucking humans. No, you just want to feel better about yourself.

Take off your safety pin. America just elected a monster propped up by rightist-extremism. We shouldn't feel safe, we should be angry.