Seriously? This is a thing now? Wear a safety pin to show “you’re an ally?” So immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, and others who were targeted and persecuted and (further) marginalized by the Trump Campaign will know they’re “safe” with you?

No. Just no. Please, take it off.

Let me explain something, white people: We just fucked up. Bad. We elected a racist demagogue who has promised to do serious harm to almost every person who isn’t a straight white male, and whose rhetoric has already stirred up hate crimes nationwide. White people were 70% of the voters in the 2016 election, and we’re the only demographic Trump won. It doesn’t matter why. What matters is there’s a white nationalist moving into the Oval Office, and white people–only white people–put him there.

We don’t get to make ourselves feel better by putting on safety pins and self-designating ourselves as allies.

And make no mistake, that’s what the safety pins are for. Making White people feel better. They’ll do little or nothing to reassure the marginalized populations they are allegedly there to reassure; marginalized people know full well the long history of white people calling themselves allies while doing nothing to help, or even inflicting harm on, non-white Americans.

Remember the white guys in the 1770s who wrote all about freedom and equality and inalienable rights? Remember how they owned and sold slaves? Yeah, if that’s the spirit you want to evoke, go ahead and wear your safety pin. I’m sure lots of white people will smile when they see it. They might even congratulate you. But immigrants and people of color will recognize it as a symbol of your privilege.

Also, you know who is going to be out wearing safety pins like crazy? Trump voters.

If you really want to be an ally, and make a difference for the people harmed by Trump, there are plenty of ways to do that. In fact, here’s a link to a whole list of ways you can be a better ally to marginalized communities. Unfortunately, few of them will provide the kind of visibility or reassurance that you think your safety pin will.

I know, I know, you’re uncomfortable. You feel guilty. You think people are going to suspect you of being a racist, and you want some way to assuage that guilt and reassure your neighbors that you’re one of the good ones. But you know what? You don’t get to do that. You need to sit in your guilt right now. You need to feel bad. So do I, so do all of us. We fucked up. We didn’t do enough to change the minds of our fellow White people. We unfriended them instead of confronting them. We looked the other way or laughed uncomfortably when our aunts and cousins made racist comments. We were content then to be one of the good ones and now we want congratulations–but we fucked up, and now other people are going to pay the price.

Because guess what: Even if you aren’t a racist, you still benefit from racism. I’m a white guy with money. This isn’t going to hurt me much. Yes, I’m bisexual, and therefore subject to some of the threats against marginalized groups. But it’s highly unlikely I’m going to be told I’m not American, or picked up by ICE and held in detention until I’m deported, or beaten or executed by police who decide my mere existence presents a threat to their safety, or denied the right to make my own decisions about my own medical care. For the most part, I’ll go about my daily life the way I always have–and if I want to, I can put a safety pin on my shirt and congratulate myself for being so woke, for being one of the good ones. Meanwhile I’ll be benefitting, every minute of every day, from a system that is designed to favor me over people whose skin looks darker than mine.

Don’t do it.

If you really need some way to show your support, if you just can’t bear to sit in your discomfort for even a little bit longer, here’s my suggestion: Instead of doing the thing white people invented to make ourselves feel better, follow the example of the people from the marginalized communities you want to support.

I recommend carrying a big sign. You can make your own, it’s easy. On the sign you should write, in big bold letters, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

And hey, if you want you can use your safety pin to fix it to your shirt.

140 COMMENTS

  1. So, allow me to just make sure I understand this Mr. Keelty. You, a man who appears outwardly caucasian, despite being a member of the LGBTQA+ community, despite the the pins being intended to also provide us with the resource of visible allies want to tell me, a pansexual, female bodied Druid–who has been touched by and will be herself depending on those pins for her safety or support should not draw any degree of positive hope or healing from them. My non trump buddies and I should not use them as a resource to keep ourselves alive, potentially as well as to help others. You are deciding that people of color collectively reject the pin movement and are so graciously speaking FOR THEM, without asking or quoting any of them, or ANY of the other people afraid we are at risk for our lives and freedom–the disabled, women, children, refugees, immigrants both legal and undocumented, pregnant women, non christians, Jews, people of different ethnicity…wow. So you’re like, the ‘decider’ for all of us? All of us who are wearing that pin because of our very real concerns as well as in solidarity? Gee, I didn’t realize we had a new white (in appearance, I don’t want to presume) guy in town to decide for ALL of us what’s what and what to say about it. I thought that guy was safely back on his ranch painting scotty dogs and trying to get all the way through the Curious George series….I agree Black Lives Matter–where is the agency of the movement in your post?

  2. You know, I’m pretty irritated by this piece. First off, it’s off-putting to me to see “Dear White People…” in a headline. It’s immediately polarizing. I would never write a piece and title it “Dear Black People…” because I know it would offend people. Sure, ‘dear white people’ is an attention-grabber, but haven’t we had enough of inflammatory headlines?

    Secondly, Christopher Keelty, Author, I call bullshit on your assertion that people like me are putting on a safety pin to make myself feel better. Or that because I’m a white person, I need to be ashamed of the color of my skin. Really? Does this country need more shaming based on the color of people’s skin? Would you like to know why I’m wearing that safety pin? Because one of my dear cousins, who is gay, is really frightened by the election results. And ASKED people she knows loves and supports her and her partner and other people belittled and marginalized by so many in this election cycle to wear one as a sign of support and solidarity. Which I did. And am doing. Proudly. As both a sign of support, and a sign that THIS WHITE MALE did NOT vote for Donald Trump, and does NOT support and WILL NOT TOLERATE OR STAND SILENTLY BY if I hear any more of his, his supporters, or any other person’s homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, racist statements or slurs made publicly. Now, and in the future. Especially in the future.

    That’s why I wear a safety pin, or show a picture in my Facebook profile of me wearing a safety pin. Which I am using to pop your trite assertions like ‘I’m doing this because I feel guilty because a majority of white people voted for Trump.” Well I didn’t. I’m doing it because I’m PISSED and I’m going to show my support. And I’m not stopping with a pin, but it’s a sign nevertheless. So there. And if you need a safety pin yourself if you have a change of heart, I know just where you can stick it.

  3. This in no way is a substitute for wearing t-shirts that say #BlackLivesMatter. We should still do that. Ever heard of a both/and? And this isn’t about making ourselves feel better. It’s about letting at risk persons in oppressed groups know they matter and are not being forgotten during these scary times. As well as holding up a mirror to those who allowed these scary times to be voted in.

    (My personal take on the safety pin movement)

    • I’m so tired of the “Black” lives matter “BS”. Can’t we just wear “ALL” lives matter and be done with it. There are so many writers thriving on keeping up the argument instead of trying to fix anything. Lack of creativity and nothing else to ponder maybe?? The reason for “scary” times is because idiots keep telling everyone that it’s supposed to be scary, which in turn scares the idiots that are not smart enough to realize that anyone can say anything, post it online or broadcast it, but does NOT make it true. All this insanity just because the president, that “WE” elected is trying to keep terrorism out of America. He’s not gunning down blacks, gays or women…. The press and anyone who proposes that is what’s being done is guilty of ignorance and not paying attention. So what if President Trump doesn’t have the same “PC” style as other presidents, that’s not what makes a president or the country great.
      If 70% of the people who voted are white – then obviously not enough of the “others” don’t give a shit or should have gone out and voted. Preach to them to get there asses off the couch and go vote. If you are legally in the States, ( yes, lets go there too) then you have the “right” to vote. If not, become a citizen and then vote…..that’s what everyone is entitled to. If you broke the law by sneaking into the country – don’t expect everything on a silver platter. We are all immigrants, it’s just the majority that have done it legally get a little pissed off at all the concern about those who find the need to sneak in when there is another way to be here and reap the benefits. If you are a colored person and don’t have the opportunity you want, then do what other successful colored people have done, get the education, experience and apply yourself. It’s obviously been available for years and even easier with all the “minority” scholarships available if you want to be considered a minority. Same goes for women. Look at the examples of successful people of all races and genders even going back to Mae Jemison ( the first African-American woman astronaut to travel in space ) If she could do it twenty five years ago, then the president is NOT the problem with people not succeeding today. The “ALL” lives matter applies not only to people of color, but to immigrants, woman, gays and anyone who considers them a “minority”. As far as I’m concerned, we have all had equal rights long enough and minorities have been using the “minority” card for so long it is now a crutch or excuse to not work as hard as those that are successful. This is not a criticism for minorities or races other than white. There are just as many white americans that are too lazy to get off their asses too. There’s just not a “class” or special title for it. Maybe we can group them together and form a new title – “UNLIMITED SOULS, ENABLED but LACKING EDUCATION SKILLS and SENSABILITIES” We can shorten it to an acronym….”USELESS”.

  4. I enjoyed your cartoon writings in this post, but you should have some drawings or pictures to accompany the prose. Something fitting, and at your level, perhaps SpongeBob Squarepants?

  5. I think this article is heading in the right direction.

    I think the point is don’t just wear the safety pin, or tote a bad with big bold BLM written in it.

    BE ACTIVE IN YOUR SHOW OF SOLIDARITY. Go to rallies, stand up for those you see being treated unfairly in public. Don’t just show your support. Be your support.

    Signs are the first step. ACTIVE action is the next!

  6. A friend shared your post on Facebook, and I’m going to copy most of my comment to him over here. I usually agree with him (a LGBT, non-Christian, white man) on pretty much everything, but this is one place where I’m going to disagree. I’m honestly a little tired of a few white people telling other white people that they don’t have any say in anything related to oppression of any kind. Yeah, I’m white. Yes it gives me a lot of privilege, and I wholeheartedly acknowledge that. But there’s still a few areas where I’m not so privileged. I’m not straight (though yes, I do pass, I know that), I’m not Christian, and I’m female. And speaking from experience, my white skin doesn’t wipe those other three out. I’d rather put the privilege I have as a white person to good use, to advocate for other minorities because as sad as it is to say it, sometimes my opinion will be taken more seriously than other people’s just because of my skin colour. I’ve read enough stories since Tuesday of the safety pin making a difference to people that I just put one on my shirt, as I’m about to head into town. I live in a town that has HUGE problems with bigotry of all sorts – the racism, sexism, and religious bigotry in this town is disgusting – and if I can make a difference in one person’s day by wearing it, I’m going to do it. But having said that, it’s not the only thing I’m going to do. I always call bigotry out when I see it, I stand up for others who are being harassed, I make a point of doing anything I can to emphasize the fact that bigotry is wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being LGBT/a POC/female/etc, and I participate in education campaigns etc. when I can.

  7. Thank you for your critical voice. I’m currently helping to organize a movement of safety pin wearers, and we are very aware of the need to be more than a symbolic gesture. Our Facebook group has over 5,000 people, and counting, and we are raising this criticism and inviting it as a challenge. I fully believe that if you declare yourself a “safe space”, that means being willing to do the things that will make people feel safe. I am not safe if I can’t back up what I’m doing. We have offered guides from different organizations (HRC, etc), to how to stand up for people in public spaces, etc. and we are actively seeking voices from the marginalized groups so that we don’t just become another empty gesture by white people…however well intentioned.

    It definitely has the potential to be an empty and embarrassing promise. But I also am embracing that action is needed, and needed now. People are facing an increase of harassment, and inaction based on concern for having a perfect solution isn’t the answer.

    Thank you for your voice and raising this concern.

    • Please don’t feel the need to entertain this man’s negative viewpoint and criticism in your group. Who is he and why does his viewpoint matter? He is some random blogger and he is wrong. Please wear that pin with pride, knowing that it means a lot to someone like me. As a trans person of color who has survived a hate crime, I find these pins to mean more than most people could ever imagine. It is in no way an empty promise. Never be ashamed to stand up for what is right and be a visible safe space and ally. Thanks for what you are doing!

  8. Wrong, Christopher. Calculate the votes again, and you’ll find that only about half the entire US population voted, so less than 25% of whites voted in Trump. Shameful in itself, since the “right” to vote is actually a privilege possessed by not that many nations in the world. Now, for those who didn’t vote: shame.
    But the least you can do now is put the safety pin on so the minorities targeted by Trump’s peculiar form of insanity will know they are surrounded by people who do NOT hate them. Ideally (and, granted, simplistically), that should make up the other 75% of the American population.
    People who WILL step up– next time. If there is a next time.
    I’m Canadian. I voted for our current prime minister: a feminist egalitarian who believes in the Canadian tradition of multi-culturalism, supports action on climate change, and who showed up to hand out parkas to our very first planeload of Syrian refugees– symbolic, yeah. But it showed Canadians we need to remember to welcome refugees with our arms wide open.
    I’m wearing a safety pin. Better that than a swastika.

  9. Wearing a safety pin doesn’t make me feel better. I am not trying to feel better. I want other people to know that I am on their side, that when we pass each other in the grocery store, I won’t be looking down my nose at them or muttering curses at them. I want marginalized people to know that they are not alone. It is a genuine gesture and I don’t see how it’s an embarrassment. Shame on you for trying to make something honest and good into something shameful.

  10. Just knowing that someone is safe to talk to and won’t marginalize them is a powerful thing. I don’t support the oppressed because I’m feeling guilty because of my skin color. I do it because it’s the right fucking thing to do. This piece is nothing but white shaming. Sure, whites as a whole have a lot of things to be shameful about. But shaming them for putting it out there that you support those who are needing the support right now? Get your head out of your ass, Christopher Keelty. Shit like this is why there was a Trump victory. You shitting on people because of how they were born. Yeah, as a straight white male, I have a shit ton of privilege. How I use that privilege is to be a voice for the voiceless. Don’t you DARE fucking shame me for doing that.

  11. I am wearing my safety pin(s). Right next to my other pins. The ones that say Black Lives Matter, and Pussies Against Trump. Don’t fucking tell me what to wear. Nothing says “I am an arrogant, entitled, mansplaining douchecanoe” like trying to shame people into doing what YOU think they should be doing/acting/saying. Fuck you.

  12. Some valid points, hidden in more of the self-righteousness that people can only be supportive in ways deemed acceptable to the better liberals. The more liberal liberals. The smarter liberals. The self-appointed liberals who get to sit in judgment of all the other liberals. The type who are everything that helped get us into this situation to begin with. The ones who looked down on the poor, the ignorant. The ones that laughed at them when Trump came along and actually listened to them and talked to them and didn’t tell them they were dumb and a bunch of losers. The type who now, after the election, isn’t done chastising the rest of us for just not doing it right. It might be news to you, but we don’t need your permission. We don’t need your condescending attitude. We can wear that safety pin, if we want to, and do all the other things. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

    They are embarassing to you for the same reason that Hillary Clinton lost. For the same reason that some of the same voters who elected Obama ended up voting for Trump.

  13. In addition to all of the other thoughtful responses already made, where is this assumption that the pins are being worn primarily by Trump supporters coming from?

  14. Speaking as a queer POC I find some comfort on seeing folks wearing the safety pins (I also wear them so o, not just a white thing). After the election I felt betrayed by my fellow Americans. Seeing someone wearing a fin is a reminder that I’m not alone and that there is someone that didn’t betray people like me for their own benefit that day.

    • How dare you, Laura? How dare you choose to do something to promote your solidarity with marginalized people without making sure every white man thought it was cool first? You silly woman. We’re all such silly women, thinking we could help in a subtle way while of course sitting on our self-satisfied asses doing nothing, as the writer of this article assumes.

  15. This article is total bullshit. Wear the safety pins. Go to rallies. Post to Facebook. March on Washington. Make a donation to the ACLU. Make a donation to Planned Parenthood. Cry. Do something. Be heard. People of all colors, religions, and race are horrified at what happened this week. Do whatever it is to show solidarity not only with people of color and the LGBQT community and hell, WOMEN everywhere, but with each other, too–without worrying about what some white male bozo from Queens and his cat thinks of your form of protest.

  16. So am I supposed to feel guilty after months of trying to call out Trump-kissing bigots and educate them on why “P” grabbing comments are not just “locker room talk”, that we don’t need to repeat internment camps for people too stupid to tell the difference between a terrorist and a random peaceful Muslim on the street, that BLM has a right to protest, and working with my school’s LGBT club to designate our campus a safe space and petition for the new bathrooms in the campus’ main building reconstruction to be designated gender neutral? Talking to privileged assholes is like talking to a brick wall, but surely you know that? If you tell them repeatedly and they continue to ignore you, what’s left? Can’t put a gun to their head if they prefer to stay blind and bigoted.

    My non-white, non-straight/cis, non-Christian friends know I will go with them and stand with them. I don’t think you have the right to label myself and people like me as guilty as the Trump kissers and the apathetic Bernie Bros who decided they can “survive” a bad presidency and gave zero thought to their less privileged neighbors.

      • This is like shaming people because they we want to help, because we’re all afraid for what will happen. Putting it on reminds me of the fear I feel for all marginalized and vulnerable people – including any one the pain of white male privilege, black, asian African, arab Male privilege. Pain and abuse come in all colors. I’ll wear my safety pin because it reminds me not because it makes me feel good.

      • It is only the weak of mind that believe anybody thinks ‘wearing a safety pin’ by itself is the only thing to do. The arrogance is well noted and actually a much bigger problem than wearing a safety pin.

  17. ‘Thou dost protesteth too much’ so why don’t you just STFU & let people show their solidarity in any way they want. What a WUSS.

  18. I couldn’t disagree with this more. I’ll be wearing a safety pin BECAUSE I’M AN ALLY. Not because I want to look like I’m doing something but don’t really want to take action. My kids will wear them so their peers might now that they’re someone who is safe to talk to about being bullied and coming out. I hope that someone might see me and know that they can come to me if they need someone. And honestly? This? People wanting to be good and do good and being told IT’S NOT ENOUGH, YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH, **YOU’RE EMBARASSING** that’s what got us into this mess. THAT is what splintered the left, and the middle, and hell, the right when it comes down to it. I started calling this attitude being a “lamer” years ago. You’re recycling? That’s not enough, you should only be using reusable containers. You donated to that campaign? That’s not enough, you should be knocking on doors. You’re wearing that t-shirt? That’s not enough you should be marching. BY ALL MEANS encourage people to further action, but for god’s sake can we stop telling people who have the right idea that they’re not enough? THAT is not going to encourage action! THAT is sure as hell not going to encourage unity. THAT is not going to move the country in the direction it needs to go. Can we switch to YES, AND again? Can we please start encouraging one another instead of tearing each other down? I don’t see any other way forward.

  19. You’re making some huge assumptions here. For one thing, there are plenty of white people who are now in the line of fire: women, LGBTQ people, Jews, etc. A friend of a friend–a straight, white, middle-aged man, was accosted in a market on the very liberal Upper West Side of NYC and verbally attacked and abused as a “faggot.” Here’s what I’m seeing in your obnoxious post about your white privilege: you don’t think anything is going to happen to you or anyone you know who looks like you. Well, you’re wrong. Nobody is safe. And as this gets worse, and it will, you better believe we will all need to know who our allies are.

  20. i see a lot of mad white people commenting on this, which is interesting.

    wearing a safety pin in order to make others safe does not make them safe.

    use your body, your voice, your money, your space, and your resources to support marginalized people.

    a safety pin doesn’t do a godamn thing. it’s just making YOU feel good.

    • No, it’s a signal to the woman boarding a train that she can sit next to me and I will speak up if she finds herself verbally or physically attacked by a fellow passenger. It is a promise to the gay teller at the grocery store that if the lady behind me makes derogatory comments I will speak up and tell her to take her hatred elsewhere. It is a symbol of solidarity AND active support. If you don’t think that is worthy of your respect then fine; don’t wear one. I will wear mine with pride.

    • **wearing a safety pin in order to make others safe does not make them safe.**

      No shit, really?!

      **use your body, your voice, your money, your space, and your resources to support marginalized people.**

      My body is broken down by age, however – I fully intend to use it if I see some bigoted asshole using his/hers to intimidate others. I have no money to spare, my space is cramped and my resources are limited. But can I wear a simple safety pin to let people know that I can be approached safely? To let them know that I can and will help them if necessary? Yeah, I can do that.

      No sign of solidarity, no matter how small, should be mocked. Now is the time to stand together, not condescend to those who would help.

  21. Perhaps part of the reason we’re falling to win over our Trump-believing fellow-citizens is that we respond to honest attempts to do the right thing with castigation instead of attempts to suggest more helpful behavior? How is spending 80% of the article taking about how stupid it is to do this going to do anything other than make most people tune out? And, if it’s not going to make things better, how is it anything other than the same attempt at white self-aggrandizement it attacks?

  22. I agree with the author to a point. The safety pin is one tool in the arsenal. But it is passive. And without backing action is no better than a ribbon on your avatar or a flag superimposed on your profile picture. It says, “you can ask me for help.” But marginalized people have been asking. Repeatedly. For a long time.

    So be an ally when you aren’t asked. Be an ally when you’re pushed away. Be an ally when you’re distrusted. Be an ally when you feel insulted.

    Most importantly, be an ally when you’re among your own and there are no marginalized people around to witness, thank, or praise you.

  23. If wearing a safety pin means the kids at the school where I teach can identify someone who WILL and HAS stood up for them, how is that a problem? How is that an embarrassment? Should we take greater action, absolutely, but I feel like trying to shut down a potentially helpful thing contributes to the problem and causes people who want to make a difference to freeze up because they are getting criticized from every direction.

  24. Boy have you missed the mark on this one; in almost every way. First off, your piece spews so much hate and vitiriol, I wonder how you could be an ally to anyone. Only time will tell if this is an effective tool. But you don’t have any clue what people’s motivations are. You also don’t seem to have done any research to get a feel for how targeted groups feel about it. Some people get their power solely from shooting down other peoples attempts to build something good. Don’t be one of them.

  25. Can we stop with “white people” as some catch all zero sum herd? We might share a demographic but we’re not a hive mind. When you reduce People into simple categories and encourage ydivision.

    There are 10-20 million of us that didn’t vote for trump and find everything he stands for to be repugnant. There nothing worse than a white hipster saying that everyone besides him is the problem. Our issues are complicated and nuanced.

  26. Here’s the thing: if you don’t like the pins, feel that they’re empty symbols, another form of “slacktivism”, that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion. Don’t wear a pin. What’s not fine is you telling others that this form of activism is wrong. What’s not fine is your assumption that it’s only something white folks are doing to make themselves feel better. What’s not fine is the condescension that this piece is dripping with, implying that you know better. How many times have you had people condescendingly say to you, “oh no, don’t do that, that’s not effective”. How many times have you listened when people have told you what you are doing is wrong? What’s not fine is you assuming that people, regardless of color, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, faith, etc. don’t have a right to take any measure they can to fight what some of Trumps supporters would like to see as the new status quo. For some people, this may be the extent of their activism, but it’s better than nothing damnit. What’s not fine is for you to trivialize and minimize any type of action that is being taken in the name of equality and equity. Fighting back isn’t always done with arms raised in defiance and voices ringing in the air. Fighting for what is right can be silent, subtle and effective. Instead of passing judgement how about you go out and do something that FOR YOU defines activism. Stop trying to define what it is for other people. No one appreciates others dictating what is/isn’t acceptable. Solidarity appears in many forms.

  27. My understanding of the safety pin is that it is a peaceful protest against those who are discriminating others. It’s a way to show that you are standing up for those who are being marginalized. Isn’t that what you are suggesting that we do? I’m “safe” because I will not discriminate against my fellow person AND I will stand up against bullies in their defense. I think you are missing the point. The safety pin isn’t just a symbol – it’s about taking action for those who are too scared to do it themselves.

  28. Dear Editorial Sniper: Fuck you. You’re not helping anything with your “hot take.”

    Go back to the drawing board and figure out how to bring people together. When you do, I’ll be happy to take off my safety pin.

  29. I rolled my eyes when seeing the “let’s wear a safety pin” posts but couldn’t find the words why it bothered me. Thank you!! I would add that this is a way for folks to garner the “I’m an ally” thumbs-up without having to do a thing about the actual problem of racism in this country. An alternative? Spend time/energy on an issue affecting people who will be affected by Trump’s decisions. Reach out to neighbors who are vulnerable and tell them you’re a support person. And if you REALLY want to wear the pin, then do it. But not without doing other concrete things as well. Otherwise, it’s just bumper sticker politics as usual.

    • The point is many of us with a pin are doing just that. The Pin is an easy way to let those afraid know that there are people they are safe with, people who are stepping up to speak on their behalf/along side them, to stand beside them. I srsly do not know what having a visible symbol of a commitment to something is a bid deal. What do people think the flag is? Or those ribbons for breast cancer, or bullying…same thing.

  30. This is an amazingly simplistic and ignorant use of data. Why other demographic groups failed to show up to the polls in greater numbers is beyond me– blame lies beyond simplistic “white oppression.” I find the safety pin trend to be a bit silly too, but see it it not an expression of guilt but rather as an overly naive expression of compassion. However, on a better note, it is also a quiet subversion of this creep who somehow found his way into office. Let’s take all of it that we can get.

  31. Blow it out your ass sir, is my comment to you, I am a white Gay male who thinks its Perfectly fine for people to wear the safety pin to let the marginalized victims of the Trump regime know that they are not alone, People are scrambling for something to do and feeling Powerless…it isn’t guilt, its the need to stay connected and show those people Not all of us voted for an ass and we don’t want you to be afraid because we need to stick together. It may seem like a silly thing I grant you but it isn’t White privilege guilt. Put your soap box away and start helping and not trying to sow dissension with this ridiculous article.

  32. So… You criticized an apparently easy and performative form of allyship by enacting an even easier and more publicly performative piece of allyship criticism?

    My head hurts.

  33. Your analysis misses out on the various assemblages in which we all find ourselves. POCs are not the only people needing solidarity after Trump — he has been clear in going after people due to their orientation, identity, ability, and gender. Some of those white people you’re criticizing for wearing a safety pin fall into one or more of these marginalized communities themselves, and still are thankful to see others wearing them. Also, in my tiny, progressive, Southern town, I’ve seen plenty of people of color wearing them today. I think perhaps you are reacting to a real, “pat-on-the-back” response you’ve seen some people give themselves and are trying to generalize it in ways that are both inaccurate, simplistic, and condescending.

  34. More than one frightened individual from an at-risk minority group has told me of an instance wherein they took comfort from or sheltered with someone wearing a safety pin. It helped actual people, genuinely afraid in day-to-day social situations. That’s all the proof I need it’s a good thing.

  35. Word, we don’t wear our pins just to feel better. WE did NOT vote this Satan from hell into office and we have fought in every way to support our LGBT,people of color and women community. And another thing quit addressing us as ‘white people” our group consists of people from many races and backgrounds. Are you a white supremacist? You use the term White people alot

  36. Wow, generalize much? Judge much? I worked for the Clinton campaign for months in order to defeat this horrible fascist. I have been an activist for equality since the 60’s. This white woman feels no guilt because I’ve done my best to be a good ally on many levels. It does no good to condemn instead of encourage the white people who didn’t vote for Trump, because THEY DIDN’T VOTE FOR TRUMP! – we need all of them in the ongoing cause of justice. Wearing a symbol that telegraphs to others one’s stance on social justice is a caring, loving and brave gesture – since Trump supporters will undoubtedly give you shite for it. So, chill the fuk out, Mr Keelty and stop preaching to the wrong people!

  37. Speak for yourself. Lumping me with the people who elected Trump just because of the color of my skin is as harmful and unproductive as the racism you’re shouting about. Make no mistake, I did not elect Donald Trump. And it’s not just about race. I’m a woman. Sometimes I feel vulnerable when I’m out and about on my own, The next time that happens I’ll be grateful if I see someone wearing a safety pin, regardless of who that is.

  38. Boy, I knew you would get lots of backlash for this one. I have been trying for years to change the hearts and minds of liberal, well meaning white people, but they just don’t listen. That’s because most of them think they are the experts and tend to lecture. They get all defensive right away at the mire mention of combating our own racism. They think, and are reinforced by movies etc., that racism is something involving the KKK, or other ignorant organization. I live in Berkeley, California, considered a very liberal place. Any yet, time and time again I see, hear and read things that make me cringe. I speak up, but I am having a hard time organizing a group of white people in my city who want to tackle racism, mostly because they think that is a problem with “the other guys”. Sure, they might want to look at city policy, but not at themselves. So I hear comments like, “where are you going to send your kids to school?” or “it is a sketchy neighborhood?”, or there are always apps like Nextdoor where people rant and rave, and disclose the race of a criminal (just in case the rich white people who have moved into my neighborhood want to run every time they see a black teenager or call the police). So frustrating. Personally, I would rather deal with a straight up racist (like some folks where I was raised), than deal with educated white people who are blind to their own behavior. They are a difficult bunch. Every white American has to face their own shit around race. Until then, god help us all.

    • Thank you, Nancy. This is exactly the kind of evangelizing we need to be doing with our friends, family, and colleagues. It’s very easy to point at someone else and say they’re doing bad; it’s a lot harder to look within ourselves and see where we are, actively or passively, inflicting harm.

      Speaking up and sharing the kind of message you’ve written here goes a whole lot further than wearing a pin. Thanks again, and I hope you’ll keep it up.

  39. Piss off asshole. I am not any less of a man, an american, a person because other white people voted differently than I did. I wont feel guilty about the world and the benefits I reap by simply being born. I am not lessened by others’ fear and hatred. So no – just stop with your holier than thou bullshit. If you wanted to say “a pin isn’t enough” you could have said that. I’m not guilty. I’m mad. And I’m scared of the future. The tens of millions of people voting for trump aren’t bad. They’re scared of the future. They’re scared of change. They’re scared of being left behind.

    This is SO much bigger than black lives. So much. So so much. And my saying that doesn’t take a single thing away from BLM. Its a big world with room for a LOT of pain and suffering. Mine is just as justified as yours and theirs. Piss off. You’re not helping anything.

  40. I am a Muslim and I will be very happy to see someone wear a safety pin regardless of the level of understanding behind it. It means that person is at least willing to engage and get to know me better and at most it means they understand and are willing to fight for equality. Of course the pin is only a start toward what’s needed, not an end itself, but please don’t tell people to take them off. People under pressure need every kind word, sign, or encouragement of any sort they can get right now.

  41. Christopher Keelty, I wonder if it occurs to you that your blog post is all about making *you* feel better. Make no mistake: “immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, and others who were targeted and persecuted and (further) marginalized by the Trump Campaign” have agency. They don’t need you to speak for them any more than “White People” need you to lecture *to* them.

    I want to congratulate you on finding yourself a victim-niche as a self-appointed Lamb of God to take on the sins of all “White People”. Enjoy the martyrdom.

  42. Oh I get that you are more angry than everyone else – bra-fucking-vo. Because carryign a Black Lives Matter sign is SO much more useful to folks.

    Gah, fuck off. You are, this is, the problem: value-signalling shit, that doesn’t move the needle, just pisses of people who want to contribute and can’t understand there is so much pointing to a fucking hierarchy of privilege that no-one ever escapes, and fixation upon just defeats engagement at step one.

    You didn’t win the election either, by the way, there’s no parallel universe in which you are more righteous, ya know?

  43. For those of us that are actually afraid for our lives for the next four years, I will continue to wear my pin. There is no guilt. Only fear. I didn’t vote that man into office. And if this is a small way that I can be seen as ally to other people in my situation, I’m not going to let someone like you dissuade me.

  44. How about we do whatever we can to let folks know they are supported? Why is one way better then another? I’m old, white, female and Jewish and I did not vote for that asshat. Let’s all do our very best to try and salvage something, anything from this horrible situation. A safety pin is your issue? Please….

  45. Unclear how wearing a safety pin precludes one from doing tangible things to give support as well? Wouldn’t a better premise for the article have been “don’t JUST wear a safety pin”?

  46. Hi, I am white. A white woman. Wearing a pin that I will still wear because I AM AN IMMIGRANT. And me wearing that safety pin is me exercising my whitebprivilege in saying you racist, sexist asshole shut the fuck up.
    Because your post just marginalized me I am white but I AM AN IMMIGRANT. Yes, I do not wear my legal status on my face but it is my way to say ” not on my watch”.

  47. I work directly with Muslims and Hijab wearing women on Palestine solidarity activism. My Hijab wearing Muslim woman friend walked into to a grocery store yesterday in Hijab and saw the cashier wearing a safety pin. She was deeply relieved and was grateful to see it, and got a big warm smile from the cashier. Unless you are a hijab wearing woman, or a woman, then white men, really do not know what they are talking about. I do agree with you on taking direct action. The protests of the last few days have been so good for me to see. I keep thinking is this what it will take to wake up the Good people of America..

  48. Let me make this clear! This white man is wearing a safety pin not to make me feel better but to provide reassurance to an unsettled and scared segment of our population. Its not about me! Its about the ability to provide some bit of calmness in an uncertain world to those who are scared because of what trump represents. Ive lived overseas all my life as a minority individual and when you see a majority of the public out there who have elements that are definitely opposed to your presence it is unsettling and scary. It is un-American to express hostility to fellow immigrants (remember where ‘give me your tired, your poor…’ came from?) . It is your responsibility as a dignified human to ally those fears to those who feel they are a step away from persecution and violence.

  49. You lost any chance of actually having an impact on your target with the incredibly condescending tone. You are just pointing fingers from a bubble of self righteousness and snickering. That is what people are seeing. Lost an opportunity.

  50. Wow. Just wow. Way to take a positive movement that’s meant to bring ALL people together, not just people of different colors. And, your article has zero facts and is all opinions and assumptions. Really, it was ONLY “white people” that voted for Trump?? WRONG. I feel the safety pin movement has nothing to do with the election and has everything to do with bringing people back together and eliminating the hatred that has consumed our world. Also, it’s not something that JUST “white people” are doing. I know people of all different races and backgrounds wearing pins proudly. And stop it with the “white people” crap. What classifies someone as “white” I ask you? The actual color of their skin? My skin color appears “white” but my genetics will tell you a different story. I come from an extremely mixed background (Spanish, African, Irish, and there’s still more to be discovered) but I’m labeled as a “privileged white person.” I didn’t grow up privileged. I dislike stereotypes, people should be judged by their actions, not by their DNA that they were born with and have no control of changing. We need to focus on uniting as a country, as a society, and focus that we all are, HUMAN. We need to end hate, regardless of what is being directed at.

    • AGREE…. author is off………

      “I know, I know, you’re uncomfortable. You feel guilty. You think people are going to suspect you of being a racist, and you want some way to assuage that guilt and reassure your neighbors that you’re one of the good ones. ”

      No. Sorry. I am not wearing the pin out of guilt, at all. Just as I pledge to register as Muslim, if need be, I am visibly showing my humanity, wearing a sign to indicate I don’t support any of the proposed discriminatory policies.

      We wear Ribbons for AIDS, and Cancer, and wristbands….SYMBOLS for solidarity.

      Author doesn’t mention connection to Brexit.
      We are the glue that will hold the country together.

    • Exactly! This kind of writing co
      I g from a blond haired, blue eyed, male, wreaks of someone either totally out of touch or himself an alt-right wanting to break down the unity people are finding despite the Nazi regime in office. He’s a tool either way.

  51. Thank you for the article. I am having trouble with the like for allies, which I found to be a good resource. I’m just sure if it’s something with the link/site or with me, but if it’s not just me it would be great to have it fixed.

  52. He writes……”I know, I know, you’re uncomfortable. You feel guilty. You think people are going to suspect you of being a racist, and you want some way to assuage that guilt and reassure your neighbors that you’re one of the good ones. ”

    No. Sorry. I am not wearing the pin out of guilt, at all. Just as I pledge to register as Muslim, if need be, I am visibly showing my humanity, wearing a sign to indicate I don’t support any of the proposed discriminatory policies.

  53. Words words words. You may not know, because you exist in Media World, but plenty of us wearing safety pins ARE actually helping people of color and immigrants by teaching them ESL (because their MD or JD from their country isn’t accepted here and they need college credits), working in soup kitchens, food banks, homeless shelters, drug clinics, hanging warm coats under the bridge where homeless sleep, collecting food, working as legal aid advisers and domestic abuse counselors, creating service learning programs for students, etc. etc. etc. Your blather shows your disconnection from community and the people in it. Try getting out more.

  54. Thank you for writing, but, as some others have commented, you need to work on your tone. Allow me to add a little story of my own.

    I teach adult ESL. After class yesterday, two students – sisters, both wearing hijabs – came to talk to me. They were very concerned about incidents reported in the press, even though our campus has been free of any trouble thus far. I did my best to reassure them that “not all etc. etc.” When I explained why I was wearing a safety pin, and what it signified – that if they felt threatened, a pin wearer would be an ally – the look of relief and gratitude that appeared on their faces was heartbreaking and uplifting, at the same time.

    So I’ll keep wearing the pin. I have nothing to feel guilty about, other than sharing a race and a country with people who are willing to condone racism, misogyny, and bigotry for whatever rational they need to get through the day. I didn’t vote for the man.

    Doing one act does not preclude another act. I urged others not to vote for Trump, and now I have redoubled my efforts against him and his kakistocracy. I will continue.

    Oh, and while I practice no religion, I look quite Semitic, and I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor. I hate to think that we have forgotten the hard lessons learned in the twentieth century.

    Again, thank you for writing, but try to check YOUR privilege and condescension.

    • I hate the idea of people wearing those safety pins! I really appreciate this piece by Mr Keelty – I find your pins somewhat insulting! No, we are not afraid of Donald Trump so please stop trying to make this about us – it’s not, and believe many of YOU know it! Basically telling people they have something to fear – just more propaganda and fear mongering. But hey [what do I know] I’m sure it’s not about me anyway. Carry on. smdh.

    • I 2nd that. We should do whatever positive we can. Chump may have won my demographic but he didn’t win me. I am still ME! And as long as I can give those in trouble my support I WILL! I didn’t unfriend anybody. I spoke up when I heard racism. I have had shouting matches with my step father about this shit since I was 10! If u didn’t, then shame on YOU!

      I voted Hillary, I voted Obama, I have never voted anything but democrat my entire life. And I GREW UP IN TEXAS!!!!!!

      Asshat.

  55. My first thought is the statement “White people were 70% of the voters in the 2016 election, and we’re the only demographic Trump won.” Number one, not ALL white people voted for Trump! Married white women with a false sense of security may have voted more for Trump just to stay in line with their husbands’ influence and vote – VERY dangerous thing to do. Older senior citizen women who grew up in the days when the girls waited for the men and boys to eat first probably voted for Trump because that is how they were “brought up” and they think men will take care of them. Then there is the group who covertly voted for Trump by casting a “consciousness” or third party vote because they “just don’t like Hillary” or “all those emails” and voted against their own best interest. ” Bill Clinton blah blah blah” HE WAS NOT RUNNING – all you people who voted your husbands’ pick because “my husband says” remember that when your husband runs off with his side woman it is your own fault, you are to blame for his actions that have hurt you immensely (at least yours won’t be public). There are those that just don’t have much of a brain (usually married to RICH white guys) and cannot look at the investigative scrutiny Hillary Clinton has endured for the past 30 years, while working her ass off for women and children BTW, and never been convicted of ANYTHING! The saddest of things is how little progress women have actually made in their own minds. My last thought is regarding your last advice “I recommend carrying a big sign. You can make your own, it’s easy. On the sign you should write, in big bold letters, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” Well If your 70% statement is true maybe the better sign would be “BLACK VOTES MATTER”. With all the white supremacist Nazis backing Trump this was definitely NOT the time to CHOOSE to let the White Male vote speak for them! Truth is they need to step up their game when it comes to voting. I know a whole lot of beautiful intelligent hard working black women raising beautiful intelligent black daughters (and sons) both married and unmarried and they VOTED because they want a better world for themselves, ALL women and ALL children. I also know a lot who have bought into the “our votes don’t matter” theory. So over the next 4 years we shall see just how their votes don’t matter. BUT, if you did not vote – DO NOT BITCH! I am just praying some states secede so I won’t have too far to run with my daughter when the KKK starts the next war. I am so very disappointed in people of this country right now. The hatred in this day and age is just unbelievable. Sad, sad, sad times.

  56. I take your point that we have to do more than just wear safety pins. I just wish you had not been so angry about it. The effect, as you may have noted from several of the posts above, was to alienate the white people whom you intended to reach. As my mama said, “You get more flies with honey, than vinegar.” Just a suggestion for your future blogs.

  57. Sad narrow minded and misguided! Let me begin by naming my white privilege and in the same breath naming the responsibility it gives me to support and protect the most vulnerable. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has worked with minority populations his entire adult life, I can’t state strongly enough that this piece of writing makes a number of assumptions that simply cannot be generalized in the manner the author has done. I’d also like to let readers know that I have a husband that is from the Middle East and suffers from severe developmental trauma. Mental Health stability and recovery is complicated work, work that can be easily derailed by daily fear. The man I love is being re traumatized by this man’s administration and the bigots like Sessions who have made public statements in support of the KKK as well as the small minded prejudiced Americans it seeks to incite and mobilize. Mind you, that man is not directly responsible for the hate that has taken rise in my country but instead is responsible for revealing the ugly underbelly of the US, a country built on intolerance. We are now up to over 100 hate incidents being catalogued by the Southern Poverty Law Center! This man, who I refuse to call president-elect, his policies is bringing forth the unfolding of what promises to be one of the most frightening presidential administrations of my lifetime. My husband and I have spoken about wearing a safety pin and what it means for both he and I. He tells me that in his fear to go outside and confront the demons inside, seeing this small symbol gives him solace in an unpredictable world. He explains further that he does not take it as a sign of someone he can automatically trust and confide in but more an external symbol of resistance against the hate he has heard this man spew and the hate he has felt from Americans on the street and in stores. For me, the author of this piece is the worst kind of writer capitalizing on the current state of affairs, writing a piece with a catchy title and selling it to the likes of the Huffington Post…did anyone actually read his entire piece critically or just take the bait to repost this crap. Wake up America, this is my country too. Shame on you Chris Keelty, you’re an ugly opportunist who’s a horrendous writer with no ethics.

    • I hate the idea of people wearing those safety pins! I really appreciate this piece – I find your pins somewhat insulting! No, we are not afraid of Donald Trump so please stop trying to make this about us – it’s not, and believe many of YOU know it! Basically telling people they have something to fear – just more propaganda and fear mongering. But hey [what do I know] I’m sure it’s not about me anyway. Carry on. smdh.

  58. I don’t assume that wearing a safety pin is the only action people who display them have decided to take. And make no mistake, wearing a safety pin IS an action, one that makes the wearer a target of the same blind hatred and anger that motivates the perpetrators of hate crimes. I think dismissing the action of people who want to show their solidarity with people of color, Muslims, the LGBTQ community and other targeted groups is a mistake. Why would we want to attack the action of our allies that want to show support for us? Why assume they do it to “assuage their guilt about being white”? As a Japanese American, I am pretty low on the list of potential targets but I don’t have any guilt that I am not a higher priority target for hate crimes. Sure, I could argue that Japanese Americans have BEEN targets and talk about the WWII experience of imprisonment, internment camps and expropriation of private property. There may even be current incidents of hate crimes where Asian Americans are being targeted. But “white” is a vast and vague category. Are Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans, and Irish included as “white,” all of whom have been or still often are targets of hate crimes?

    It feels like to me that putting down wearing a safety pin comes from misplaced fear and anger. That since our “otherness” is apparent just by how we look, we don’t want to allow anyone we might consider”white” to join our “otherness club” even by a show of solidarity. So anger is directed at people who want to show they are our allies, the easiest and most vulnerable people to attack. Why would we want to do that?!
    .
    Also, the fact is that about 63% of the total U.S. population is “white” (i.e., nonHispanic/Latino). While this does include Arabs, it is still the majority ethnic/racial group. Why wouldn’t I want allies from this majority population? I am heartened by the safety pin movement. I plan to wear one myself.

  59. Thank you for your opinion. Please see my post from 11/19/2016 entitled “Safety Pins” at cultivateretirementjoy.blogspot.com. I admit that growing up as a minister’s daughter in white, evangelical Christian middle-class America was very pleasant, except for the unfortunate fact that it did not include a lot of people. I accept my inherent responsibility to show up now, just because it seems more necessary than ever. My complacency of the past I cannot change.

    • It’s not the Trump supporters killing people.
      Talk about hate crimes. I’m glad he won. So much you assume. And you know what happens when you ass-u-me.
      Go live in another country if you don’t like America.

  60. I hate the idea of people wearing those safety pins! I really appreciate this piece – I find your pins somewhat insulting! No, we are not afraid of Donald Trump so please stop trying to make this about us – it’s not, and believe many of YOU know it! Basically telling people they have something to fear – just more propaganda and fear mongering. But hey [what do I know] I’m sure it’s not about me anyway. Carry on. smdh.

  61. I LOVE the safety pin idea and I’m wearing one now! This is a symbol that ALL LIVES MATTER! And to me it is a symbol that we all stand together to resist the racist, ignorant, illiterate ASSHOLE who was elected into office courtesy of his good pal Putin. This article is negative and only casts aspersions on others and the choices that they make to express themselves. Your suggestion to wear a sign is BEYOND STUPID. Just shut the fuck up until you have something important to write about you BASIC BITCH!

    • Wow, I hear the anger and defensiveness, loud and clear! I thought this author had a lot of good suggestions for how white people might expand their horizons. Look I was a high school history teacher, and it was hard to find materials about leaders who were not white and European in our history books, so I needed to do twice the work for every chapter if I wanted to include the whole story. Then there was this queasy feeling when all the white teachers brought out their annual “feel good”, tired lessons about Martin Luther King, as if no one else even mattered , and Black History was something celebrated a couple weeks a year. Then they could see movies about slavery and the racism during the civil rights struggles of the sixties, and feel good because that was certainly not them. Of course not, but these lessons don’t include the more tacit and unconscious behaviors that we can all see and hear everyday (if one is listening) in real time. . These are the things that slowly erode basic human understanding, one chip at a time. I know that white folks need to sort this stuff out for themselves, but I suggest that atty girl and the rest of the angry mob run this thread by your black and Muslim friends to see what they think. I wish you peace and understanding.

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