A person named Elmer, in a comment on The PBS NewsHour post about people wearing safety pins, said this:
A simple safety pin sends a subtle, comforting, yet very powerful message to your fellow Americans that you don’t hate them. I still have hope in my heart that’s something most people can agree upon — if we ever needed something to bring all of us together, it’s now!
Another commenter named Lara Arikan said:
The #safetypin is NOT a political statement! It’s a humanitarian statement that shows you stand against bigotry and hate.
It’s certainly not a religious thing, although my pastor will be wearing a safety pin when I see her tomorrow in church. In fact, my first friend on Facebook to change her profile picture to a safety pin is a professed non-believer. So it’s neither a political nor a religious thing.
Not only did the liberal news outlet, PBS NewsHour, report about this phenomenon, but so did a Fox News affiliate, Fox31 Denver:
While protests and riots continue across the country in the wake of the presidential election, there’s a small yet powerful symbol popping up all over the world showing solidarity and support for groups who say they are fearful of what is to come.
As stories of Americans experiencing hate speech, racism and violence spread on social media, pictures of people donning a safety pin have also started appearing on Twitter and Instagram.
The idea was inspired by a British movement after Brexit and is meant to send a message that anyone wearing a pin is standing up against sexism, racism and xenophobia, essentially declaring themselves allies and friends to groups who feel marginalized.
After Brexit, the safety pin hashtag started trending across the pond in an effort to show refugees and immigrants they have support.
There’s now an effort in the U.S. to adopt the symbol to show compassion in the aftermath of a divisive election.
Why do we need to put labels on ourselves or, more importantly, on others? Isn’t that the crux of the problem? Pigeonholing people by race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion–any category at all–distances them from ourselves, creates the OTHER.
And in these times, the OTHER is feared. Greatly feared. A very sad, as well as dangerous, state of affairs. Any time that fear takes the upper hand in the public consciousness is a time that invites disaster to happen, in terms of governance.
Now I’m going to say something that will not be popular among many of my liberal friends.
Let’s also quit calling people racists, misogynists, haters, or any of those terms. Yes, the ACTS that people perform may be racist or misogynistic or xenophobic or hate-filled.
But to pigeonhole these folks, these fellow human beings (who in my religion are all children of God and are to be loved as we love ourselves) by labeling them and putting them in boxes, which are slurs, is to make these people the kind of OTHER that we ourselves can hate and hurt.
Don’t we want to move ahead?
Shall we not embrace each person with an open mind and heart, and hope they do the same for us?
And in the meantime, let’s do send the signal, with a mere safety pin fastened to our clothes, that we will stand up for each other in times of trial and that we will provide each other, especially those who are victimized, with a safe space in which to rest awhile.