Sunday, November 13, 2016

Being Pined

There is a movement with allies wearing safety pins to show they are a safe place, but being an ally is a lot more than wearing a safety pin.
So You Want to Wear a Safety Pin
November 12, 2016

Great. This is a necessary behavior in the face of the election of the most overtly racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti- gender and sexual minority candidate in the history of the modern United States. You know the rhetoric of his campaign was wrong. It was the very worst thing about America and you want to do what you can to combat the result. Good. Do that.

But don’t do it without a plan. Because the very last thing a tense situation needs is someone full of good intentions but with no knowledge of de-escalation tactics or self-defense. Your intentions are not a tangible shield. If you don’t make a plan, you will get yourself or the person you are trying to defend very killed.

Let’s avoid that.
The first thing that they write about is,
Know What The Pin Means.It is a sign that you are a safe person. A marginalized person who is being harassed will look to you to help keep them safe. By wearing the safety pin you make a public pledge to be a walking, talking safe space for the marginalized. All of the marginalized. You don’t get to pick and choose. You can’t protect GSM people but ignore the Muslim woman who needs help. You can’t stand for Black people who are dealing with racial slurs but ignore the disabled person who is dealing with a physical attack.

This is all or nothing. If you aren’t willing or able to stand up for everyone, don’t wear the pin.
The last sentence is so important, you cannot go half way.

The article goes on to say,
How Much Are You Willing to Risk?
This is the most important question. Before you get involved, you have to decide how much you are willing to risk in the interaction. Depending on how privileged and/or sheltered you are, you may be unaware that these kind of interactions can get violent and they can get that way fast.

Are you willing to have violence in your life? Are you willing to be violent in defense of the marginalized? If you’re not willing, that’s fine. Not everyone is. But you need to be realistic. If you wear the safety pin, you are telling people you are willing to confront violence on their behalf. And if you’re not willing to do that, don’t wear the pin.
The article asks the questions…
Do You Know How to De-escalate?
What Will You Do if De-Escalation Doesn’t Work?
What Will You Do if The Situation Gets Violent?
An article in Quartz writes,
Concrete steps that Americans who care about social justice can take now
Two days after Donald Trump pulled off his election victory, an old friend, a tech company executive, sent me a note.

“I’ve always considered myself fairly progressive, but this election has been a wake up call,” he wrote. “Truth be told, I’ve never actually DONE ANYTHING to champion the causes and values which are now so gravely under threat under President Trump (and I stare in slack-jawed astonishment at those two words even as I write them). So yes, his victory is partly on me. I’ve always talked a good game, but really I’ve dropped the ball.”

He, like others who opposed Trump’s candidacy and values, heard the election results as a call to action. As Quartz’s Jenny Anderson put it, “We will fight to make the country better, a country where hate has no place. We will show respect, kindness, and resolve.”

But how? As the initial shock wears off, it’s a question many are asking. There are some excellent guides out there already, including this one by Anil Dash and this one by Aaron Sorkin. Here are our strategies.
Some of the ideas they put forward are,
Be an ally, and support vulnerable groups
As reports of racist attacks roll in, many already are scared, as well as dismayed, by the direction the country has taken.

Within hours of the election result, a colleague reached out to me and others in our office who are of South Asian descent. “If people feel unsafe EVER walking outside the office, commuting, etc., I am happy to collaborate and find ways to make sure people feel safe and empowered,” she said. Her kind gesture moved me to tears.
Be vigilant. If you see a person under attack, don’t be a silent bystander. Intervene strategically to keep yourself and others as safe as possible, as described by my Quartz colleague Akshat Rathi.

Connect with people when it’s most difficult to
Even as our world becomes more electronically connected, the US remains disconcertedly divided—as this election illustrated all too clearly. The comedian Stephen Colbert pointed out during his election-night special that people on both sides of the country’s political divide are actually afraid of those who disagree with them.

This isn’t a problem that’s easy to fix, but it certainly helps to reach out beyond your circles and diverge from your beaten paths, both on social media and in real life. Engage meaningfully, even—especially—when it’s most difficult to do so.
Some non-profits are training their staff on LGBT issues and are giving out little rainbow stickers to put on their ID badges. However, we emphasis that it is a lot more than rainbow stickers, it is ongoing training and making sure new employees receive the training, it is making sure that their employees are really LGBT friendly because training will not make someone a LGBT ally. It will do more harm if someone who isn’t friendly has a sticker and then makes disparaging comments.

We welcome allies but we want allies who will protect our backs.

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