Thank you for your response.
To clarify, I was not meaning it’s hard to wear a safety pin, nor that I should be given pity or props for this. I said it was less comfortable to wear one than to not wear one, only in response to the assumption that the only reason to wear it is that it is just this easy thing that makes me feel good. You’re absolutely right — wearing a symbol is incredibly easy compared to actually having a minority identity in this country. Not even on the same level, of course. I didn’t mean to equate the two at all, and since it came across that way, I’m sorry.
It’s interesting to hear your take on this. In my corner of the world, the friends who are passing along the pin idea are, generally, the exact ones that are saying “Donate to xxx. Get involved in yyy. Let the safety pin be a starting place, not an ending place.” I’m not seeing anyone say or indicate the a small symbol would be the end of action or makes them feel good. Rather, I’m seeing people ask each other how they can get involved, sending lists of organizations, having conversations about how to talk about racism, homophobia, anti-trans attitudes in a way that actually gets through to people, sharing numbers and addresses of representatives, writing that they are feeling inspired to go back to law school to become a civil rights lawyer or to run for office. I’m seeing the pin as being a very minor part of the conversation — except for the recent articles and discussions criticizing it and assuming people are “only doing it” for xx reason that the author has come up with.
I hear your perspective. I’ve also heard other perspectives of PoC that say: enough with the pin.
Yet I’ve heard other perspectives from people from marginalized communities who say: I like the pin.
Further, as I said in my last message, whether it’s a pin or a BLM t shirt or a love trumps hate sign or whatever — there can be an important educative function to symbols because of signaling that goes on among other straight cis whites (including our children). Other white people may assume when they see another white person that they must share their views. A symbol can send a message, set a tone, and say to them: “No, not all straight cis white people think the way you do. It’s not ok to cling to straight cis whiteness and ignore the experiences of others. Your bigoted statements and jokes will not be tolerated here. You now know a person who cares about these issues so you can’t make sweeping generalizations about “those people” as easily. It’s actually quite reasonable, normal to be a white person who cares about those who do not share this experience or identity. Etc.” It can also start conversations among whites that lead to the beginnings of transformation. It can also be a daily reminder to oneself to take action, be sensitive, step out of one’s white perspective.
If everyone from a marginalized community was united against this symbol and there was no other white-signaling reason to wear it, of course, this would be an end-of-discussion. No pin. Stupid pin. Yet the current context does not seem so clear cut. Do I (or we white people) stop a certain action because some people say to, when other people say please wear it, and when I/we think there is an important teaching and connective aspect to it among other whites?