The safety pin — once known for holding fabric together — has now become a symbol of solidarity with minorities in the wake of the presidential election and Donald J. Trump’s victory.
Even wilder is that white people now have a way to pay for their “privilege” — literally. “Safety Pin Box” is a real subscription service that allows whites to financially support black female activists and “complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy.”
What a hustle.
Wear a safety pin — and you show yourself to be an ally with those who may feel vulnerable or afraid of Trump as president-elect.
“Safety Pin Box is an act of radical collective self-preservation and we openly declare we are #NotYourMule,” says the Safety Pin Box website.
“Preposterous,” one Boston-area dad of three told LifeZette. “I have a son going to college next year, and friends say this safety pin movement is alive and well on college campuses. This type of financial scam just reinforces a type of insanity.”
High school students have had to endure the sight of teachers wearing safety pins in class — essentially participating in activism during school hours. The Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas had to send out a notice to employees in November, reminding them the safety pin was a disruption to students in the classroom.
Black Lives Matter activist Marissa Janae Johnson, who says in a Facebook Live chat that she has been working in schools on behalf of the BLM movement, is the co-creator of “Safety Pin Box.”
Launched last week, the Safety Pin Box effort has different levels of participation. “Each month, recipients will be chosen at random from our pool of ‘Black Women Being’ applicants based on funds raised from that month’s subscriptions,” according to the website. “Any and all Black women/femmes doing any work towards the liberation of Black people are encouraged to apply.”
Whites can apparently sign up for four different types of subscriptions. The “e-ally box” is “an electronic form of solidarity,” at $25 a month. It comes with “exclusive ‘calls to action’ when urgent ally services are needed in times of crisis.”
The “pin pals box” is shared by two white people for $100 total. Subscribers get a “physical ‘safety pin’ box shipped to one address, with guided two-person tasks for the month.”
If a white person feels really guilty, the “premiere” box subscription — at a stunning $100 a month — includes a “physical ‘safety pin’ box shipped to the person with guided ally tasks for the month.”
Task categories include data collection, personal development, “influencing your networks,” and showing “radical compassion.”
Should any white person engage in any of this misguided activism — don’t expect to be thanked for your efforts.
“But be warned, while Safety Pin Box takes the impulses of performative allyship and stewards them for good — we do not recommend using your ally work as leverage or as a demand for recognition from Black people,” according to the group’s website. “Such actions will not only get you dragged across Black Twitter (probably by Leslie and Marissa themselves), but are also a manifestation of white supremacy.”
The one-time “Revenge Box” costs $50. The website description says, “Send this box to a Trump supporter, bigot, or white supremacist of our choice.”
The lucky recipient of the Revenge Box gets “a link to a website that features highlights of the current movement for Black lives and stories of Black excellence.”
Our nation’s kids are subjected to this type of nonsense in increasingly progressive classrooms.
“Although some argue that wearing a safety pin is too small of a gesture, I disagree,” wrote Elizabeth Meyer, associate dean for teacher education at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, in an essay for The Denver Post. “As a queer person who has spent her adult life seeking signs of safety and affirmation in rainbow flags, ally stickers, and safe-space posters, I can say it makes a difference to me. A public symbol of support matters.”
Keep in mind — this is a teacher writing this. She is presumably someone who has a great deal of influence over the lives of young people.
“Given the choice between supporting a homeless shelter or a children’s nonprofit at Christmas, I hope all Americans — black, white, any color — will see right through a preposterous scam like Safety Pin Box,” said the Boston-area dad. “We only get stronger when we stop looking for ways we have been hurt, toughen up, and give our time and money to those that really need it.”