The Safety Pin vs. Racism: Brilliant if a success, but in danger of being counter-intuitive

I posted my thoughts on my Facebook page, and my friend replied: “A hundred people may see it and think “sanctimonious prick” (a pun – hep!), but if one person sees it and feels a little less scared, or alone, it’s worth doing I reckon. It would also be enormously useful if you met a racist with a balloon.” Of course, I agree. Quickly, as this has been bouncing around Twitter tonight at great speed there is a charitable idea that I think is great, but I think it needs to be treated very carefully.26809-ew0ktx


I just want to post my thoughts on the use of safety pins – an idea that was given a massive boost when reported by The Independent. The idea sparked by a tweet was for people around the country to wear a safety pin on their clothing to represent ‘solidarity with the United Kingdom’s immigrant population’.

There is no reason not to respect the cause behind this, because it has received a lot of attention in the wake of the result of the EU Referendum, as several racial abuse incidents were reported. Last week, days after the referendum, I spoke to a white, British taxi driver who was very quick to ask me how I voted: “Don’t worry. I know my way around Portsmouth. I’m not foreign. So, did you vote?”, followed by a pro-Brexit political lecture all the way home. While not necessarily abusive, he was extremely irresponsible and it would be of no surprise if he had already said the same thing to the ‘wrong person’ since. I also have several student friends who are upset that they will face far more difficulty if they plan to stay in the United Kingdom once their studies are over. It is an issue that must be addressed.

A badge to represent a named faction would be a good idea on the grounds of emphasising its scale – there are x members of the team, perhaps stylised as proper nouns. The Safety Pin, used technically as a viral marketing tool for charitable cause. However, there still seem to be a couple of issues. 1. Sometimes it seems to emphasise the victimisation of some people more than it does unity, and it’s dangerously thin line – close to being a bit counter-intuitive, as it makes a point of designating immigrants into a separate group. It could be great, but could also be British people meaning well, but in danger of isolating the victims even further by running the campaign.

However, is the idea of a safety pin to represent one’s own solidarity with the immigrant population? I am not entirely sure that being under pressure to take part in the exercise is quite the way to go about the matter. That is not to so that these are all problems that can resolved by everyone being nice, but to be somewhat forced to play along is on the brink of causing another issue – 2. therefore one would be designated as a racist, fascist and guilty of hate crimes in spite of total innocence.

I hope that these are problems that can be avoided, and that this takes off at a great velocity, but I can’t help but be concerned of these issues.

Please post your thoughts below. I’m curious on the subject of what others think.


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