As a white woman with autism and mental illness, the overt and covert discrimination I face as a disabled person is much different than that of other marginalized groups. I acknowledge that.
I’ve been trying to step up my personal game as an ally for POC and the LGBTQ community over the course of a few years, and I still make missteps. I understand some of the pushback from people thinking that others are doing this safety pin thing as only an empty gesture…
But everyone has to start somewhere. Like with trying to eat healthier, you can’t go from supersized fast food bacon double cheeseburger meals to nothing but superfoods like kale and chia overnight if you want to have any sort of long-term success. First, you have to switch to diet soda and the smaller value meal, then to grilled chicken, then to a side salad instead of fries. Small steps in the right direction can add up to making more and more conscious decisions to do better each day. Food shaming from others only sends people back to their old eating habits.
Safety pins can be like switching to diet soda for people who have never considered what it might mean to step up for people who are less privileged than they are. It’s a place to start. Let’s not stomp on the efforts of people who have never tried to do this work before, or they won’t even bother.