This episode of #TreacherousTuesdays Johnny Silvercloud speaks on this new safety pin symbolism (worthless), protesters born out of gentrification of our urban areas (who forget about those who they’ve displaced), fake white allyship and possible ulterior motives.

“What I’m saying here, is that these folks on these streets right now, are fighting for that illusion (of racism being over), versus actually solving the problem (abolishing white supremacy).  And that’s why they wear those safety pins.

Those safety pins are more about them caring about how they are perceived versus actually being against all forms of oppression.  White people – both the radicalized conservative and the soft liberal –care MORE about being perceived as racist versus actually being racist at all.  This is why BOTH engage in behaviors that are racist as fuck, and at the same time worry about the fact that you called them out.”  ~ Johnny Silvercloud

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Photography Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

Written by Johnny Silvercloud

The Soul Brother #1 of a Kind. Consequentialist street photographer abolitionist writer/speaker who stands for any oppressed peoples. I do it because every man and woman deserves freedom of thought -- especially black folks.


  1. I’m really struggling with something. The safety pin has become a focal point of this issue.

    When the LGBTQ community let the rest of us know loud and clear that they were a marginalized group, experienced discrimination, violence, hatred and fear en mass, and that we (the non-LGBTQ) needed to be the ones to change society, to advocate for change, create places of safety, and identify ourselves as “safe people” so if an LGBTQ person were experiencing negative or threatening behaviors, the LGBTQ person could easily identify allies, people and institutions where they could seek allies and safety.

    I was in college, and many professors hung “Safe Space” or “Ally” on their office doors to identify people and places where LGBTQ people could seek out safety. My church went through a formal process to earn the certification of “Welcoming Congregation” to be identified as a congregation welcoming to the LGBTQ community.

    Perhaps I was just unaware. But I never heard anyone in the LGBTQ community say that straight people could never be considered safe. Or that identification as a “safe” person was a way to assuage our Cisgender guilt due to our complicity in the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBTQ community.

    I know that our national history of racism isn’t comparable to our national history of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. I’m not attempting to equate the two.

    I’m getting two conflicting messages from the African American community. One is that racism is a white problem and white people need to fix OURSELVES (which I agree with). White people voted Trump into office. White people are responsible for the racism, white supremacy, violence and discrimination against African Americans. African Americans should not have to try to correct what is a white people’s problem.

    I’m also hearing lots of voices from many groups and individuals that all white people are to be considered threats, and if we understood racism, we’d know better than to ever identify ourselves as “safe” to any African American. Ever.

    I read that we should ASK what our role should be, and follow the lead of our African American friends. I’m told we can’t have African American friends because it’s not possible for African Americans to trust, or truly be friends with a white person.

    All over the Internet, podcasts, newscasts are stories of white people wearing a safety pin to self-identify as someone who did NOT vote for Trump, who don’t agree with his racist, xenophobic, sexist views, that we won’t participate in his agenda of discrimination, that we are aware of our white privilege, and we will use that privilege to protect individuals and groups who are/feel threatened, and to do all we can to keep his agenda and policies from negativity affecting our fellow countrymen and women.

    And from those very sources, I’m also hearing that our wearing of the safety pin is simply a way to make us feel better about our complicity in the systemic racism living in every corner of our country, and our participation in the election of Trump as the leader, the representative of our nation.

    As a straight white person, I don’t know what to do. I WANT to listen to what African Americans state they want/need us to do. But I’m getting different messages from different people. I WANT to identify myself as a safe person, someone who will step out in front of this out of control bus to protect my countrymen and women. I WANT to do everything I can to create the kind of world that I and so many peace and justice loving people want: one where we get at the root of this disease called systemic, institutionalized racism, and abolish it forever.

    I was in college when the video of Rodney King being beaten by police went worldwide. We were all shocked and horrified. We, the white people. The African-Americans among us knew that this was just the first time such police brutality of African-Americans had been videotaped and gone viral.

    As the student body met in an auditorium to talk about what we were all witnessing, the beating, the riots, the systemic racism that allows this to perpetuate for hundreds of years, I was heartbroken when I saw many of the African-American students wearing shirts that said “It’s a black thang. You wouldn’t understand.” After all, I and every other white person I spoke with, saw this as an “us” problem. White people have been part of lots of movements on behalf of African-Americans throughout the history of our country. From abolitionists and the underground railroad, to the freedom riders. I didn’t understand how the kind of injustice we witnessed visited upon Rodney King could be seen as “a black problem” and not an American problem.

    When I spoke to an African-American professor about this, she said that sometimes we have to own things for a while before we can share them with others.

    I’m wondering if that’s what we’re experiencing now. That the African-American community, and other communities of color see the outcome of this election, and the systemic racism that led up to this moment, and the white nationalist and other racist groups coming out of the woodwork, and the spike in hate crimes since Donald Trump’s victory, as something that communities of color need to grapple with separate from the reckoning of the white community. We all have a role to play here. I don’t think any of us want to co-opt the process of anyone else.

    I really hope that when we get past this shock, and this pain, and this ugly realization of who we are as a country, that we can find a way to come together and see each other as allies in the same fight for equality, and justice for all.


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