The safety pin as a symbol of solidarity and support made a comeback in late 2016, according to BuzzFeed. After their wide-spread and somewhat embarrassing campaign in the U.K. following June 2016’s scandalous Brexit vote, safety pins made a return to the United States after the equally scandalous presidential election.
— Sarcastic Sasafrás (@SarcasticSasa) January 17, 2017
With Donald Trump, who has made a series of racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ comments during his presidential campaign, winning last year’s U.S. election and being inaugurated last week, social media users around the world showed their solidarity and stood up against the Trump administration by the simple (and free) act of wearing a safety pin attached to their clothes.
— Slate (@Slate) January 22, 2017
By wearing a safety pin and taking snaps of it, people are apparently showing their solidarity and support for people of color, LGBTQ people, and immigrants, as well as many other Americans living in fear of targeted violence now that Trump is the new U.S. President.
The safety pin first became a symbol of support and solidarity after many refugees and immigrants faced an increased frequency of racist attacks after the U.K. voted in favor of Brexit back in June 2016.
Interestingly, it was an American-born woman living in London who started the safety pin movement following the Brexit vote. In her interview with BuzzFeed, the woman named Allison said she was looking for something that would “cost nothing” and would have no political connotation.
“Something that says, ‘I am a safe space, you can sit next to me, you can talk to me, you can ask me for help.'”
— McSpocky™???? (@mcspocky) January 27, 2017
And that’s how her idea with the safety pin was born. Shortly after the trend went viral, thousands of people took to social media to share snaps of themselves wearing safety pins as a symbol of solidarity with U.S. minorities.
However, there are many people who strongly oppose the safety pin campaign and say it’s nothing but a useless and ridiculous gesture because it’s not accompanied by any action.
A Twitter user named Morgan Jerkins said that instead of wearing a safety pin, people should “do the work” and educate themselves and their loved ones about “white supremacy.” Trump has long been accused of carrying white supremacy ideas.
You are not a “safe” person just because you wear a #safetypin. This is nothing but a project to alleviate white guilt. Get up and do work.
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) November 11, 2016
Another Twitter user said people who wear a safety pin as a sign of support should step in every time they see any harassment.
here’s the thing: if someone’s going to wear a safety pin as a sign of support i fully expect them to also step in when they see harrassment
— cold brew (@whynotanna) November 11, 2016
Wearing a safety pin as a sign of support and solidarity for victims of racism and harassment became a thing after the uptick of racist crimes following the Brexit vote, according to Heat St.
By wearing a safety pin, people are also apparently showing others that they aren’t racists in disguise. But then again, how do people tell the difference between people who pretend to be non-racists (but actually are racists) by wearing a safety pin and those who are actually non-racists and wear safety pins for good intentions?
You are my safety pin ❤ pic.twitter.com/959WR3ybaq
— Paluszek Cashtona (@sukaclifforda) January 19, 2017
Even British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan made fun of the safety pin movement saying that just because people are wearing safety pins doesn’t mean they aren’t racist and are perfectly safe for society.
What if all the racists now start wearing a #safetypin to confuse everyone?
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 29, 2016
Although Allison, the founder of the safety pin movement, says safety pins are used “to protect those being abused as a result of the Brexit referendum,” it remains unclear how thousands of pics of people wearing safety pins can actually help bring down the uptick of racist and hate crimes.
But nonetheless, people seem excited about sharing the trendy selfies with safety pins via their Instagram and Twitter accounts. Adding the #SafetyPin hashtag in an attempt to fight racist violence, people seem to wholeheartedly believe that their safety pin can erase racism in society.
Unfortunately, there are always going to be people ready to cash in at any opportunity, and two self-proclaimed activists turned the safety pin trend into a product called the Safety Pin Box, which they rather obviously describe as “more than a safety pin,” according to the Independent Journal Review.
The box, which is actually a monthly subscription service, contains “a list of actions which subscribers can work into their daily lives.” With “plans” ranging from $25 per month to $100 per month, white people are sent a box of suggestions such as “giving higher tips to black people” and actively analyzing the media they consume for credibility and bias.
— Dr. Inyourfeels (@VeryWhiteGuy) January 18, 2017
With some people are clearly flabbergasted that someone has found a way to sell a solution to “white guilt” as a monthly subscription service, others have noted that Leslie Mac, one of the two people profiting from the Safety Pin Box subscriptions, recently tweeted her hope that 2017 would be the year “we stop praising white folks for acting like decent human beings.”
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) January 9, 2017
Mac also very recently tweeted that “we don’t trust white women.”
This is why we don’t trust white women – right here. https://t.co/JJJ8O35Y4w
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) January 26, 2017
[Featured Image by Natchaworanan/Shutterstock]