Sunday, November 13, 2016

Why I Will Wear A Safety Pin

I will be wearing a safety pin. I will be, but I am not judging you if you don't. And I am comfortable enough to do so even if you don't believe me when you see me wearing one. I am 100% okay with you looking at me funny when I wear it. And I'm okay if you roll your eyes. It's also just fine with me if you don't trust me when you see it.

Do you know what I'm talking about?

The safety pin has a much different history than I was aware of. And recently, with the new vote in the UK on Brexit, people have started wearing them as a symbol of allyship.

A symbol of a safe place.

And some people jumped on that virtual bandwagon - as some of us are noticing - and started changing their Facebook profile pictures and sharing pictures of safety pin memes. And yes, they took off.

And some people think it's wonderful.

But some people don't really find it to be worth much.

I respect that. I respect both of those kinds of people.

My understanding of my white privilege continues to grow. I recognize that I can look at a simple effort of something as affordable as a safety pin and think, wow, what a wonderful way for people to express that they are 'with you' to those who might currently be feeling terrified while out on their hometown streets.

And I recognize that to others an effort as simple as this? Means very little. And I am 100% okay with that. Not that they need me to be. I am not saying this as a way to be accepted by my friends who are minorities and let them know I accept their thoughts. They do not need me to accept anything, they are entitled to their thoughts (nobody needs me to say that, either, but before I find myself wanting to apologize and explain every.single.thing I say, I'll stop there).

But I AM saying that *I* am okay with being judged for wearing one.

I am okay with being looked at as a bandwagon-jumper.

Because I know that some people out there are. I know some people have never said a single word on behalf of their minority friends, never said a single word as the hatred and fears throughout this election cycle were exploding across the country. And I know that these people might be sporting virtual safety pins right now. I know this. I see it. I recognize it.

And honestly? If this is what it took to get these particular kinds of people to notice? I hate it took so long, but the more people who are awake around us? The better.

I HAVE to think this.

I have to believe good will somehow win out.

And while I know that other people might be wearing a safety pin and doing nothing else?

I know I am not one of those people.

At this point in time I am in about fourteen different groups discussing race relations, the elections (yes, beyond the Presidential one), how I as a white woman can support minorities, how I as a white woman can become more aware of my own white privileges. You know what? I have been in at least five or six of those since way before election night. And the others? Well, they didn't actually exist yet - so I ask for acceptance on that point.

I do not write this for approval. For a pat on the back.

I do not write this to say something like Woo Hoo, Pantsuit Nation!

I write this because I know I have been trying to do more.

I know that I am teaching my child how to treat others with respect, and have been for her entire almost ten years of life. I know this because I have a child who recognizes the evils that grow in this country, and when she talks about how it is wrong to mistreat others because of the color of their skin, or their religious beliefs, well, I know my husband and I are doing something right. Or at the very least we are trying.

And so, back to the safety pin.

Those who know me well know what I stand for. They know what I advocate for.

I could write you a list, but if you have been a reader of my blog at all? You know the things that are at the top of it. And if you don't know? Please ask me, I am more than happy to tell you.

One of my last posts included resources for people struggling to find a way to DO SOMETHING post-election. And I hope that they have been helpful for some of you. If you have others you would like me to add to that list, please leave them in the comments or message me on Facebook.

And if you want to be added to any of the groups I am in? Please do the same. I am more than happy to include you if you are ready to do the work.

And so, I again share that I will be wearing a safety pin. It will, for me, represent a small public reminder that I am here for someone who might need me. And while I wont judge a single person for NOT wearing one, or judge a single person for not believing I am doing more than wearing one? I will still wear it. Because if it helps one person? I'm okay with that.

advocate, ally, safety pin, Brexit, post-election, support, safe place, #safetypin

2 comments:

signingcharity said...

I have yet to decide what I am going to do about the safety pin. I was going to wear one, but then I started seeing flack about how people don't need to be protected...and once again I began to feel like I am damned if I do, damned if I don't. Probably my white privilege getting all bent out of shape because I don't know what to do, but right now, I am more than a little frustrated.

Diane Stenglein said...

I feel the same way that Charity does. I have one on my coat now, as a symbol of solidarity, but I worry that in a true moment of crisis and danger, I'd be called on to physically defend someone.

I'm so broken up about all of this - I am the face of white privledge, and I know there's a huge barrier I face because of that. Especially, living where I do.

So what next?

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