Since the election last week, many people have begun wearing symbolic safety pins in order to demonstrate solidarity and allyship with marginalized people. But, as Demetria Lucas D’Oyley writes for The Root, it’s “an empty gesture.”
The problem with the safety pin is that being an ally is more than just declaring yourself one. It means actively working to dismantle systems of oppression while also recognizing your privilege within those systems. It’s easy to put on a pin and say that you stand with people of color, when you’re not likely to experience racism or Islamophobia. It’s not so easy to challenge your own and others’ internalized anti-Blackness, racism, and Islamophobia. Being an ally is not an identity you can pin onto your clothing; rather, it is a praxis, and if you aren’t doing the work, the word is meaningless.