I’ve been struggling since Election Tuesday to find ways to explain why there is a greater fear running through the “white, liberal, hetero, cis” community, let alone why many women within that listing are scared even more.
Additionally, trying to explain why the idea of the “safety pin” is actually quite bullshit.
I am forced to see both sides of the situation because I am a white, heterosexual, cis woman. But, for me, I stand firmly on the side of those who have been marginalized for decades (well, centuries, actually). Why? Because I am a woman.
We — defined as white America — have gotten used to being able to supposedly “support” different causes by putting a ribbon on it. But what in the hell does that actually DO for the cause?
Oh, maybe some causes give a portion of the proceeds of the sales of the ribbon (while covering expenses, which means the cause is likely to get maybe 5¢ out of every dollar). But it does nothing to actually help the people impacted by the cause. We just THINK we’re doing something.
But think about it. If you see a veteran on the streets begging for food, are you actually going to stop and take him to a grocery store to buy him food? Or pay for him to stay in a motel for a night so he can shower and get some comfortable sleep?
You drive past a group of people beating the shit out of someone on your drive home, but you can’t see the victim. Do you stop and help the victim? Do you even stop, stay in your car and call 911? Or do you drive on by because “someone else will help.”
There are a few things this whole “safety pin” thing is saying:
I can protect you.
Ok, sure. But where were you last week? Last year?
Where were you when the 360 women were raped just in the last 12 hours alone? (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015)).
Where were you in the last 12 hours alone when the 402 people became victims of hate crimes? (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015) – includes religious, gender, ethnicity/race, disability and sexual orientation/identity, but unsurprisingly ethnicity/race is the largest percentage of hate crimes at 58.9%).
None of these crimes just popped up since election day. They’ve been around for centuries. The ONLY difference is that now we have a sexist, racist, demagogue for a President-Elect. AND we would have the same crimes still even if Secretary Clinton won the election! Would you still be jumping on the “protection” bandwagon if she had won?
I can save you!
What exactly do you think you plan to do different than you have before?
For centuries, we white people have “claimed to support” and “claimed to be allies” for and to marginalized people. But, claiming to be an ally is not actually BEING AN ALLY.
It’s not enough if the only thing you’ve done is walk with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963. It’s about what you do every day. Do you step up and support your co-worker who is getting abused for their religion or ethnicity, but being told “Oh, come on! It was a joke!” Or do you feel warmly supportive even if you’ve not actually ever DONE anything?
Hell, we white people can’t even save our women and children from being raped! But, we’ll wear a safety pin so that the woman next to us can know that “she’s safe with us.” But you won’t stop to check on strange noises to see if someone is in danger. No, you’ll just sit back an applaud and crow about the Swedish college students (not even American students) who stopped and helped out Brock Turner’s victim.
And what about our LGBTQ communities? Have YOU been there to protect the transgender person who just got beaten so badly that they are in a coma? Or even simpler, have you offered to let someone who is LGBTQ move in with you, because their parents threw them out for coming out.
Feeling invalidated yet? GOOD! Every single time a white person does the right thing when it comes to social justice, they want to be patted on the back for it.
Yes, I am saying THEY. Not because I’m not white, I am. Not because I’m not straight, I am. Not because I’m not a cis woman, I am. It is about DOING SOMETHING because it is the right thing to do. It’s not about running back to post on Facebook that you did something. It’s not about getting praise for doing something you should have done anyways.
You’re not a special sun-flower just because you put on a safety-pin.