Don't Be a Pin Prick

By David Himmel

Solidarity is important. But I’ve never understood the effective benefit that comes from wearing ribbons in solidarity of a cause. Dressing up your outfit with a ribbon can make some feel like they're doing something when the opposite is true. Action speaks louder than ribbons, or specific to today, the safety pins worn to let those in potential or actual danger, as a result of the hatred and violence inspired by the Trump election and forthcoming presidency, know that you are a safe and trusted comrade.

"You don't wear the ribbon? Aren't you against AIDS?"

"You don't wear the ribbon? Aren't you against AIDS?"

Now don’t come at me with that white, male privilege bullshit, telling me that I have nothing to fear, and therefore, am taking this too lightly. If my privilege is so powerful, let me use it for good. I want everyone to feel and actually be safe. It's the right thing to fight for. But I also have good reason to fear. My wife is a woman. So are my friends. Some of those friends are gay, some are black, some are Latino. My family is Jewish. These are just a few of the groups being singled out and made afraid by the violent and xenophobic faction of the alt-right. Yeah, I'm scared, too. Everyone should be.

Back to my point. There are better ways to show people you’re not a hateful asshole than pinning a tiny safety pin on your clothes. Even if it’s a big safety pin, there are better ways. Hell, any prick can stick on a few safety pins and go incognito.

Yet, I love the sentiment, which is why I devised a few other options to let your fellow (wo)man know you’re a fan of their safety.

1) Wear good band t-shirts. The more obscure or fringe punk, the better. If you see someone wearing a Propagandhi or Jawbreaker t-shirt, for example, you can bet that they’ll be down with your lifestyle. It’s less about the taste in music and more about the scene from where the music came. And only trustworthy, real fans can get their hands on good band t-shirts of this variety so this avoids any poseurs. Unfortunately, you can’t trust someone outright in a Nirvana t-shirt because those things cab be purchased at will at any Hot Topic or Target. Something that is certainly making Kurt Cobain’s ghost wish he could blow the rest of his head off.

2) Don’t drape yourself in American flag garb. No full-flag shirts or pants. Unless, of course, you’re under the age of 7 and your parents dress you in Old Navy or it’s the 4th of July. Displaying patriotism through fashion in this way feels unnatural and looks like you're overcompensating for something. A small gun collection, perhaps. Lately, dressing this way is more a thing done by Trump supporters than not. And that’s not to say that all Trump supporters wearing an American Flag bathrobe at a town hall are hateful and violent but they must be considered suspect.

"I pledge allegiance to this shirt that may have been made in China."

"I pledge allegiance to this shirt that may have been made in China."

3) Wear a knit cap in warm weather. Anyone who does this is a hipster weirdo, and most hipster weirdoes are accepting of anyone’s race, creed, color, sexuality, etc. It is important to note that although they're welcoming, these people might not be much help in saving someone if a hateful fight breaks out. I’ve never met a hipster willing to throw an actual punch. I would like to.

4) On the topic of weather-ironic clothing, feel free to wear a scarf in July. See #3 above for reasons why this is beneficial.

5) Do not wear any apparel with cartoon Disney characters on it if you are over 18 years old. I’ve never fully trusted adults who do this. Especially when it’s clear that they recently purchased that Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, rather than it be an old favorite from childhood.

6) Have that tattoo of the Warner Brothers cartoon character removed. This has nothing to do with this safety pin issue, it’s just good advice.

Consider these. Or don’t. Wear the safety pin or don’t. What matters more than wearing a pin or a ribbon or posting anything on social media is that if you see something, don’t say anything. Fucking do something. We're all at risk here. It's time we learned to take a punch.