Does this safety pin make you feel unwelcome or unsafe?


After Trump’s victory of last week, as incidents of racial intimidation started to become more commonplace across the United States, some on the left began wearing safety pins as a sign of solidarity with members of those communities most at risk that. [This practice, for what it’s worth, was borrowed from British progressives, who began wearing safety pins after the Brexit vote, as anti-immigrant violence began to spread across their country.] While the practice has been criticized by some in the U.S., who say it’s a hollow gesture on the part of white people who just want to feel better about themselves, others think it’s a relatively simple and effective way to convey to the people of color around them that you not only value their presence in society, but would have their back if something were to go down. Personally, I can see the merit on both sides of the argument, and, for that reason, I’ve chosen to stay away from the subject of safety pins… that is, until tonight, when two very different, very local safety pin related stories were brought to my attention.

First, I got news through a friend that, at 2:20 this afternoon, someone cut the face of young woman walking in front of the Michigan Theater, likely, we’re told, because she was wearing a safety pin. [A friend of a friend posted the following to Facebook about the incident: “My coworker’s daughter was slashed in the face while outside the Michigan Theater, apparently for wearing a safety pin. She’s okay (wound was minor), but understandably shaken.”] And, second, I got word from a reader of this site who works at a large, local university, that everyone in their department was instructed not to wear safety pins because they were making pro-Trump students “uncomfortable.” [This, by the way, comes shortly after Trump supporters on the campus of the University of Michigan launched a #NotMyCampus campaign intended to draw attention to how unwelcome and persecuted they’ve been made to feel for supporting our racist President-elect. [In their letter, which has now been signed by 358, these students claim that the “University’s response to President-elect Trump’s victory is perpetuating a hateful climate that makes students feel ashamed for voting for Donald Trump.”]

So, here, on one hand, we have a young woman who was physically assaulted, she thinks, because she was wearing a safety pin, indicating that she’s made the decision to come out publicly against racial intimidation. [I believe, from what I’ve heard over the past hour, that the man who cut her did so with a safety pin, which would seem to indicate that this was, in fact, related to her wearing of the safety pin.] And, on the other hand, we have conservative university students who apparently don’t feel as though they should have to confront people wearing safety pins because it makes them feel as though they’re being attacked… Think about that.

Here we are, just a few days after a Muslim student at the University of Michigan reported that a man in downtown Ann Arbor forced her to remove her hijab, saying that, if she didn’t, he would set her on fire, and we’re discussing the fact that the sight of safety pins are making Trump supporters feel “uncomfortable.” How absolutely bewildering is that? We’ve had these two racist attacks reported just blocks from one another, in what we’re told is one of the most liberal communities in the midwest, and yet we’re concerned about the feelings of those individuals who, despite the violent, hateful rhetoric, chose to vote for Donald Trump.

I should reiterate that this story that I heard about university employees being asked to remove their pins, for fear that they might offend conservative students, could well be an isolated thing. I haven’t heard of a university-wide edict on safety pins. So it could just be a single department somewhere. Regardless, though, it just bothers me that, while some people are facing very real threats in post-Trump America, we’re spending even a single minute worrying about the feelings of those who don’t want to be made to feel bad about their choice to put this man in White House, where, by the way, he’s already announced that his chief strategist will be a white nationalist. And, yes, maybe it makes me a bad man, but I find it difficult to summon too much empathy for people who voted a bully into office, when they say that, by being forced to look at safety pins, they’re being bullied, as though that’s even remotely the same as being physically threatened.

There is a huge difference in my opinion between having one’s face cut open, as happened today, and feeling frightened by the mere existence of liberal students. One of the young men who signed the #NotMyCampus petition, if you can believe it, told the Detroit Free Press, “I’m not even safe at my own home.” [To my knowledge, he had neither been slashed, or forced to disrobe to avoid immolation.] And, meanwhile, people on the right are suggesting, as Trump did yesterday, that these very real instances of racial intimidation that we’re seeing across the U.S. are, in fact, relatively trivial. [Trump said on 60 Minutes that he’d only heard of “one or two instances,” “a very small amount.”] So, on the one hand you have real cases being downplayed, while, on the other, you have people on the right saying that action needs to be taken immediately because they’re being forced to consider how their votes may have unleashed all of this on the world, as though those two things are even remotely equivalent.

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  1. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    That University department has some real problems to address.

    Which department. They should be publicly exposed.

  2. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    And that you can’t call out the University of Michigan by name speaks to your own weakness.

    Man up, Mark.

    It is absurd that people are being instructed to withhold and conceal their politics because it makes a few right wingers sad.

    Honestly, that’s un-American. We’re better than that.

  3. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Read these comments.

    For all the bluster of Republicans and conservatives, these sure are a sensitive bunch of people. I get that people need to express their grievances, but everyone on here who says they have to hide their politics has no clue what a democracy is about. Democracy and politics are dirty.

    Seems to me that the signees of this letter are asking for “safe spaces” or everything that conservatives complain about.

  4. KKT
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    From a librarian in Ypsi.

    “A woman wearing a hijab was harassed in my library today by a man claiming it’s a “free country”. It’s happening, folks, close to home. We need to be alert, step in and be allies, and stand up for goodness and respect and human decency. And Donald Trump and other conservative leaders need to state unequivocally and loudly and often: we must respect ALL people and the hate must STOP.”

  5. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Based on the article about the woman who got slashed, I think it is impossible to say why she got slashed.

    Assuming that’s the only information available. Did they catch the guy? Did he say why he did it?

    Without those facts, it is hard to say. There are other incidents, however, that clearly show signs of racial or ethnic intent.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    The interview you posted yesterday with the Latino family whose daughter filmed ethnic harassment in her middle school made it clear that the harassment is not new (though there is a spike) The receptiveness of the US public for hearing these incidents and offering help is rising. The head of SPLC says that the only other spike of hate crimes and ethnic intimidation that resembled this one was when Obama was first elected. I thought that was telling. Win or lose, a certain and relatively small group of people are waiting for permission to abuse. I don;t know why other Trump supporters believe they are implicated with these people. I don’t know why Trump supporters don’t wear the damn pin too.

    It’s easy to be frustrated by liberal performative political statements, by self-distancing identity politics. There is no question that in A2 and Ypsi today, being liberal sometimes looks like a lifestyle choice, not anything backed by meaningful action. So I guess we’ll see now locally, with some apparent risk to the wearer, whether or not people are ready to live their principles more than symbolically. I personally don’t think there’s much risk in wearing it. There is some responsibility in it though.

    Some people in targeted groups are dismissive. They don’t trust us to back it up. They think it’s self-congratulatory. (and a cover for our own culpability) I have heard from other people in targeted groups that the pins make them feel safer, less alone. I have also heard that wearing the pin invites conversation about being an ally, about ethnic intimidation. That seems reason enough to wear it. I don’t mind appearing a fool to some if it’s a comfort to others, if it starts the necessary conversations.

    My daughter was harassed on a street in Brooklyn a couple days ago. She told the guy to fuck off. He came closer. He followed closer and closer behind her and said repeatedly that he liked a fighter, she was hot and he wanted to fuck her. This is not an unusual occurrence. What was unusual is that another woman, seated at an outdoor table at a cafe, saw what was happening, got up and walked with her for a few blocks. They talked about stir fry techniques and sneakers. They did not talk about that guy. He backed off and then eventually left. Ada thanked the woman and they went their separate ways.

    That is new. It’s happening everywhere. People are placing themselves between the target and the attacker/harasser. They are filming incidents. They are believing victims first. The word ally is often the subject of ridicule. It’s seen as unnecessary. ‘Toughen up liberals.’ People who are routinely targets for attack are tough as fuck. They have to be. ‘There is no one tougher than a sissy,’ is what David Rakoff said. Being an ally is just being prepared to be a decent human being in the world. We still have relatively great personal safety in America. It’s a privilege worth preserving.

    Seriously though– Trump supporters, wear the pin. Why wouldn’t you? Also this reminder that being an ally is not a partisan position.

  7. Posted November 16, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “Man up, Mark.”

    OK, so here’s the thing. Someone reached out to me to tell me what had happened in their department of a local university, and they told me that I could mention it as long as I didn’t name them, the department or the university. So I honored that. If it pisses you off that I didn’t “call out the University of Michigan by name,” I’m sorry. I would have thought you would have given me the the benefit of the doubt here, and assumed that I had a reason for approaching it like I did. I didn’t think I’d have to spell it out for you, but, since you put it out that there that this post “speaks to (my) weakness,” there’s the back story. I value my sources and I keep my word. And that’s not weakness.

  8. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Got it.

    I just assumed that you were sheepish about calling them out.

  9. Tim
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    “How dare you make me feel bad for supporting a racist! You guys have no idea how much it sucks to feel uncomfortable like this.”

  10. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    My comment changed!


  11. Joe M.
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Hold off on the pitchforks – I voted for Bernie and then Hillary – but does anyone else believe at least half of these stories are totally fake?

    Now some are legitimate – as seen from the Royal Oak video. Part of me just writes that off to dumb kids doing dumb kid things.

    However, most of the stories getting traction are “I heard this happen to someone somewhere” and it just bounces around like crazy in among your liberal friends social media echo chamber.

    We’ve seen this before in the case of a BLM high schooler post their own “Coloreds only” sign above a drinking fountain just to post a “SMH – woe is me, #BLM” social media post that was guaranteed to go viral and it did.

    No one really has solid proof in many of these incidents and everyone is seeking a reaction on social media. It smells fishy to me. It actually seems lot like the fake news and outcry posts many conservatives and alt-right folks have posted for years – are liberals just copying their playbook?

  12. Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Pete, check your email. I wrote to you about it a while ago.

  13. Taco Farts
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure Joe M. has a LOT to say about Duke lacrosse.

  14. Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Joe, this incident happened at 2:20 PM outside of the Michigan Theater. If someone were going to fake something like this, I doubt they’d claim it happened in such a public space. As for the incident involving the woman in the hijab, according to the police report there were witnesses. I will agree with you that in some instances hate crimes have been faked, but both of these ring true. As for chalking up the incident in Royal Oak to “kids being kids,” I’d suggest there’s a difference between one kid saying something hurtful to another student, and multiple tables full of kids in a cafeteria turning on their Hispanic classmates and chanting.

  15. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I think that more than half these stories are fabricated.

    Which does the very real stories a massive disservice and simply gives the alt right ammunition with which to discredit them

  16. Another Joe M
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    There is no more precious snowflake than a conservative made to feel guilty about voting for Trump.

  17. A.P.
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Conservatives: “Liberals need to grow a thicker skin. Not everywhere is a safe space.”

    Conservatives: *feels threatened by a safety pin*

  18. Susan G.
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    In fairness to the university I have only seen communications promoting diversity and acceptance come through the standard channels. And I wasn’t going to wear a safety pin because it did feel a little hollow. However, I’m going to start wearing one because I am totally ok with making people uncomfortable with their acceptance of racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia.

  19. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    People should wear like 100,000 safety pins just to piss those people off.

  20. Lynne
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Some thoughts…

    First, I noticed that Mark linked to an article critical of the pins which was widely shared. This is more of an observation than a criticism but it does illustrate how subtle and systemic racism can be. I read at least three criticisms of the safety pin thing written by POC before the Huffington Post story started to go viral. Yet the one written by a white man is the one that seems to have heard. Why does it take a white man speaking up to make something heard? It is what it is but I think this also illustrates why it is so important for those with privilege to speak up. However, it also should be the responsibility of the privileged to amplify the voices of those less privileged.

    Second, someone needs to explain to those #notmycampus kids that their freedom of expression does not include a freedom from criticism. They have voted in a man who openly ran on a platform of bigotry and hate. They should be ashamed and so I have no sympathy for them. If anything, this might be good for them. Too many, but white men especially, think that they are not only entitled to a bigger voice, they also are entitled to be shielded from the consequences of their words and these kids are getting that lesson. That West VA mayor just got that lesson too.

  21. Amy P.
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Clip from Jean Henry’s comment, below, is huge for me. This is, at least, the positive change that can (and is) happening amidst so much chaos, fear, and anger at present. Jean, I would like to post this clip on my facebook page if you are comfortable with that.
    My daughter was harassed on a street in Brooklyn a couple days ago. She told the guy to fuck off. He came closer. He followed closer and closer behind her and said repeatedly that he liked a fighter, she was hot and he wanted to fuck her. This is not an unusual occurrence. What was unusual is that another woman, seated at an outdoor table at a cafe, saw what was happening, got up and walked with her for a few blocks. They talked about stir fry techniques and sneakers. They did not talk about that guy. He backed off and then eventually left. Ada thanked the woman and they went their separate ways.

    That is new. It’s happening everywhere. People are placing themselves between the target and the attacker/harasser. They are filming incidents. They are believing victims first. The word ally is often the subject of ridicule. It’s seen as unnecessary. ‘Toughen up liberals.’ People who are routinely targets for attack are tough as fuck. They have to be. ‘There is no one tougher than a sissy,’ is what David Rakoff said. Being an ally is just being prepared to be a decent human being in the world. We still have relatively great personal safety in America. It’s a privilege worth preserving.

  22. Amy P.
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The people I’ve seen trying to embarrass others for wearing pins are white people. I’m listening to my brown and LGBT friends and parents of. Good grief, a signal of sanity and safety to people who have no idea who is a creep these days is certainly worth some white people rolling their eyes at me.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The kids are wearing safety pins in their piercings. That made my heart sing. It’s a gesture. Many feel helpless. Safety pins everywhere.

    If a POC wants to question my intent, that’s cool. I’m prepared to defend it.

    If you are concerned about false reports, both the SPLC and the ACLU do the work to verify to the degree possible. They are both struggling to keep up with reports. It will be a while before we know for sure. How many need to be legit for it to be a recognized problem??? Why we are only paying attention now is a better question.

    When I worked in Detroit for lawyers in the late 80’s, the police abuse was intense. The case were legit and the city of Detroit lost, then appealed (they always appealed) and lost again. This was a majority Black force under a Black mayor abusing Black citizens. No one wanted the story. Once there were cameras, and police abuse became a recognized issue.

    Film the abuse if you can.

  24. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    False reports undermine any reaction on behalf of the real ones.

    I think it should be obvious why making these things up is a bad thing.

    Stupid, really.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Amy– Anything I post online can be re-posted in another forum. I don’t have any expectation of privacy online. Maybe remove Ada’s name please. Thanks

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    There will always be false reports of anything that garners public attention. People are f’n weird. And stupid, yes. Not news. I sincerely doubt the rash of recent reports is mass hysteria. I think it’s maybe not even as big an uptick in incidence as many think. It may just be an uptick in reports. I just think people are inclined to listen and believe right now, and that makes people more inclined to report. Mark’s interview with the Latino family in Royal Oak is telling about this. I like this moment of ally-ship.

    I’m not really interested in questioning whether ethnic, religious, LGBT and sexual harassment in the US is a legitimate problem. Do most American people seriously question that anymore??? If so, more cameras.

  27. Jesse Miller
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    This pretty much convinced me to wear a pin. It’s obviously effective at getting the message across

  28. Loser Larson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Probably more than half of these “reports” are bullshit.

    The reporters, the fabricators and the people who twist them are just as damaging and the people who are responsible for the real attacks.

    I think that should be obvious. For someone who seems to value “the truth,” you seem not to care when people fabricate stories that somehow support your political position.

    Hate based attacks are real. They are. Fake reports undermine the ability of people to take the real attacks seriously.

  29. kjc
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    some people just can’t with the safety pins. i’m one of them. no comment on those who want to wear them. many people i know find them offensive. SonofB had one of the more widely shared posts.

    i don’t think it’s just about rolling one’s eyes and thinking you’re uncool. some people legitimately find these kinds of symbolic gestures clueless and depressing.

  30. EOS
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I think many incidents are made up and the rest are likely perpetrated by Sanders/Clinton supporters who think they can blame it on Trump supporters. I support people wearing pins. It’s much better than those who vandalize property or those who beat up people wearing Trump hats.

    I’ve heard that Trump supporters are going to start wearing drinking straws, as in “Suck it up, Buttercups” You voted for the losing side. Now the groups you have oppressed for 8 years get a chance to enact laws that are consistent with a less radical social agenda and they will get a chance to enforce the laws already on the books. But because of their recent experience, they will likely have more empathy for those in the minority now, and any oppression will be reduced for all. You should realize by now that calling conservatives names doesn’t stick- it has no basis in reality. It doesn’t matter if the media are all on your side since more than 70% of the people no longer trust the media. It has been evident that they only report one side of any issue for a long time.

    Rather than safety pins, you feminists should put on hijabs as a show of support for your Muslim sisters. Then you would be able to see firsthand how acceptable the veil has become in our communities. 4 years of Trump will be a blessing to many religious minorities and POC’s.

  31. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the pin is a very easy (well, ugh, maybe less so now) step for those who have never really been involved to become so.

  32. anonymous
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I say this with all sincerity, EOS. It’s scary to watch your personality change since this election. Truly.

  33. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Pete– I am interested in the truth. So far one prominent incident has been revealed to be untrue. The rest have been validated. You have SPECULATED that half are untrue. That is your expression of commitment to the truth. (What’s your investment in that postulation? Are you committed to the truth? to waiting for the truth to be revealed maybe before questioning?)
    I provided resources that vet the accusations, for those who question their validity. Personally, I think spending one’s time questioning the reports with no basis for assessment is wasted energy and critically, a diversion. There are places who do that. Give them time to do their work before putting forward speculation about how accurate they are.

    I’m confident some of the reports are false. I’m also confident some are real. If the reality of fake reports undermines people’s will to believe those that are verified, well then that’s yet another indication of the incredible will to denial of bigotry in this country.

  34. Kristin
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    If I hadn’t been subjected to 8 years of caterwauling about what a nightmare the Republicans were living under I might have a little bit of empathy with the “suck it up” crowd. But we did live with that, and we lived with people questioning the president’s nationality, his religion and his patriotism. So if you, EOS, and the other Republicans have to witness a week or two of grief from the left when they lost an election to the most contentious candidate ever I guess you should suck it up. Christ we wasted so much time listening to you people. Just have a seat for a bit and then you can move on.

  35. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    People of Color have complex and far from uniform feelings about the pins. That’s legitimate. Ally-ship is important. And not easy. It will be a long time before many learn to trust one another. To add another layer to Black voices re the pins, this is a friend’s account that moved me to view them as an overall positive.

    “I know that the sentiments were there before, but there is something different about this moment. Before I could compartmentalize. I could think that I was in danger in certain areas (neo-Nazi zones) outside of Berlin or in Austria, where half the population was voting for the far right. But now it’s here too, and it has been quantified. Half of the voters… On the positive side, there are now also new expressions of solidarity. I go into a room and think that half of the people might be in support of someone who has said and done such horrible things. But today, there was a man working in the restaurant wearing one of the safety pins that emerged out of post-Brexit anti-racist solidarities. This moment feels like a trauma, but I was happy to see him wearing that pin. I had just spoken with a colleague who said that she was going to start wearing a safety pin too. We not only need to march; we also need these open expressions of solidarity. Thank you. I thanked him too.”

  36. iRobert
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    It’s a nice gesture to want people to know you aren’t a hate-driven bigot. But I would hope we all could count on most of the people around us to be at least that decent. It’s a pretty low bar.

  37. Lynne
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Re: “Rather than safety pins, you feminists should put on hijabs as a show of support for your Muslim sisters.”

    I have considered this actually. I would want to talk to Muslims first though as they might find it offensive for a white atheist to wear the hijab even as a show of support.

  38. MC
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I was reading an article the other day about Conservatives in academia. One of the professors interviewed said that discrimination was so bad that he felt like a gay person in the 50s. I thought, either academia is a lot more dangerous and sinister than i ever could have believed possible, or this man has no idea what it was like to be gay in the 50s.

  39. Another Joe M
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Yet again, white feelings are valued above non-white fundamental rights.

  40. Another Joe M
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I started today. If white supremacists feel threatened enough by them to attack someone, then they’re clearly having some positive impact.

  41. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    False equivalencies aside, academia does have a problem with a dearth of conservative thinkers. It’s not good for any mode of thought or perspective to meet no resistance. Half the country is conservative. The segregation of political thought makes each side that much more extreme, out of touch and tone deaf. Our media coverage this election season certainly reflected that. (Whoops! We ignored half the country unless they were chanting racist or sexist epithets!) Segregation of political thought seems especially problematic in the practice of scholarship. But then again they still haven’t fully integrated academia on race or gender lines either. Diversity of perspective is fundamental to liberal (small ‘l’) political thinking. (I know Thom HATES that) It doesn’t just work one way.

  42. Jcp2
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, I don’t think wearing a hijab would help. For you and the Queen of England, it’s just a headscarf. Many Muslim women don’t wear and choose not to wear a hijab, and many of the Middle Eastern appearing women who are harassed are not Muslim. They just have a darker skin tone. And iRobert, speaking from personal experience as a visible minority, the bar you think is so low actually is moderately high. I expect, and have advised my kids that harassment based on ethnicity will probably be similar to what I experienced growing up in the late 1970’s to 1990. The one hope that I have will be that there will likely be less passivity from bystanders, and larger organizations will need to respond more proactively, simply from a business standpoint. The NBA, NFL, and NCAA are some examples of highly visible organizations that will have to work through this in a very public way.

  43. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Non-Muslim women wearing hijab is frowned upon as I understand it. It’s understood as respectful in an Islamic state or a Mosque, but not in the free for now USA.

    The news and even the Nextdoor site for my neighborhood are full of denial of ethnic and religious intimidation incidents. Many people will choose not to believe accusations. A few false claims does not void out the legitimacy of all the others. It’s just far too convenient to say so and ignore all the evidence to the contrary. Do a few false positives rule out the legitimacy of all other results?

    For some of us the impulse to denial is a recognizable pattern raises eyebrows– at least as much as the impulse to legitimize all claims raises eyebrows among skeptics. The evidence will come in. How about we don;t start with a presumption of guilt on the part of the victim? Crazy talk I know.

    Thanks for weighing in JCP2. You are right, We will need to work this through. I’m glad we are talking about it.

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    My favorite FB post on harassment. From a Fleetwood waitress: “Curly haired White guy comes in today baffled that some Trump supporters yelled at him from a passing car “Go back to Africa!” Dark haired guy sitting by the door chimes in excitedly: “I had some guys scream at me go back to Mexico and I’m Irish!” You can’t make this crazy up!!!!!!”

    Some people will say that you did. They for sure will.

    My old boss’ son got pulled over in Arizona for a stop and frisk because they thought he was Mexican. He is Japanese and Jewish. (You know, a confirming anecdote. Those always work well…)

  45. EOS
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink


    Many Muslims encourage it.

  46. Lynne
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I am so worried for the members of my family with dark skin.

  47. Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, I suspect you probably know this, but I didn’t look into the race of the person who wrote the article that I linked to. And I certainly didn’t go looking for an article written by a white person. I just remembered that a few black friends had shared things on Facebook with titles like, “white people should be ashamed of their safety pins,” so I entered that into Google, clicked on the first article that came up, scanned it to make sure it was appropriate, and included the link. If you have another link that you think would be better suited, please let me know and I’ll replace it.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    KJC offered one. But considering who wrote the article about issues of social justice seems the least one can expect.

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    EOS on a designated day. Not randomly.

  50. stupid hick
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    “You should realize by now that calling conservatives names doesn’t stick- it has no basis in reality. It doesn’t matter if the media are all on your side since more than 70% of the people no longer trust the media. It has been evident that they only report one side of any issue for a long time.”

    OK then, I won’t call you a moron for believing that nobody would protest Trump, except they were paid $3000 by Soros and given a free bus ride. Surely that must be the fault of the “liberal” media.

    “Rather than safety pins, you feminists should put on hijabs as a show of support for your Muslim sisters.”

    This is great idea, but why stop there? Get a cheap pistol and a CCW permit, and when threatened, stand your ground.

  51. Loser Larson
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Interesting commentary on a well loved blog from a small midwestern town adjacent to other towns and localities.

  52. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I recommend wearing a safety pin and carrying a can of mace.
    What is not helpful is white privileged people verbally assuring the marginalized that they will be fine. “We have your back.” No one can promise that it will all be fine. That angers people. It also ignores conveniently that the worst circumstances of marginalization are caused by the system, not random acts of violence.

  53. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

  54. Lynne
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Mark, I know that you don’t check those things. What I was commenting on was that it was a white male voice that came up first when you were looking for one. Why? Because it was shared more. I was pointing out how our whole culture amplifies male voices over female voices and white voices over brown voices often in ways that we don’t notice because it is so normal. Otherwise I had no problem with that article although I know a few women of color who didn’t like the idea of a white dude telling them they should not wear the safety pin. LOL,.

    Anyways, I think this is the most popular essay on the topic written by a person of color

  55. Lynne
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Argh. Sorry for the bad link there folks.

  56. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m painfully aware of how my point and lynne’s read like ideological purity-testing. I don’t believe it is. I think it is simply asking for primary source information, not second hand. It’s asking for a standard that values equal representation. If it makes you feel like your voice is shut down, well it’s not. It never is. It’s fair to say that the voices of liberal white men are not under-represented in this forum. (And I understand you are not a monolith, but I’m not getting the feeling there is a whole lot of embedded understanding of marginalization either. And yes, I think straight white men can understand marginalization. ) We’re just asking you to make room for more voices, and, in Mark’s case, to seek them out. That KJC provided a link in a short post and he missed it completely demonstrates the persistence of the blind spot. I will continue to celebrate any broadening of perspective in this forum, and continue to point up what I see as the flaws in perspective created by a limited scope of viewpoints. I do it because I think this forum matters. Mosquito.

  57. Bob
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m dying to know how you have so much free time. You must spend hours writing posts for Do you work the midnight shift in the city morgue, like Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler? That would be a sweet job. Most of us are actually working most of the time.

  58. site admin
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Lynne. The link has been changed.

  59. site admin
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    From the UM student petition:

    “I’m not even safe at my own home. Tonight I heard students yelling “F*** you Grant Strobl” outside my apartment. This is among countless issues with students who are empowered by the liberal political machine of the university through their several “statements.” Shame on the university for picking a viewpoint and discouraging intellectual diversity. It sounds like that $85 million dollar “diversity” plan is just funding more of the same hatred toward conservatives.” -Grant Strobl, LSA, Junior

    His website:

    Him on Fox News talking about how he’d chosen the pronoun “his majesty” for himself:

  60. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Is there a big difference in content between Mark’s linked article and KJC’s linked article? Considering Mark does this blog on the side, then I refuse to fault the guy, for failing to seek out multiple voices–at a higher rate than he would in his normal growth process as a person who is reading media sources,learning and growing…. Mark is doing a great job! KJC gave us a link. Thanks, kjc. Lynne and Jean offer a significant amount of content. Thanks Lynne and Jean. Everyone here should invite some of their associates if they want them to join in. If becomes more diverse as a result then that is cool. I fail to see any reason for finger pointing here.

    As far as the safety pin wearing goes. Yeah. Safety pins. Go for it. Or not.

  61. Lynne
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Mark, Thank you!

    FF, not really except one is a white man explaining what he has felt from people of color which I don’t have a problem with at all in that I feel that those with privilege have an obligation to speak. The other, however, was a person of color not only explaining why the safety pin didn’t sit right with her but how, so often, there is a backlash when people of color express opinions. At any rate, I appreciate that Mark changed the link because in addition to the privileged speaking up, I also feel that it is a moral obligation for people of privilege to amplify the voices of the less privileged whenever possible.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Bob– I work from home, mostly on the computer. I don’t sleep much. I have a really messy house. I increasingly avoid social activities, for better or worse. I have ADHD and seek out stimulation as a means to jump start my brain. Once my brain is activated, I write very very fast. That activation is actually a transferrable property in my case and works better than meds. I used to read broadly. Now I do this. I definitely think I should be reading instead, but I have poor impulse control. Anything else you want to know?

  63. Jean Henry
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Just placing this here (it could go on any thread really) for EOS.

  64. Demetrius
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about “unwelcome” or “unsafe” … but I definitely found this unsettling:

  65. SCW Sargent
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Deming said we can trust God, but everyone else needs to bring data:

  66. FRT
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’m totally convinced, SCW. You posted a link to a page that makes the case that Trump is not racist, and, among their evidence is a photo of him eating a taco bowl. It’s hard to argue with logic like that.

  67. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    SCW– someone posted that bit of rhetorical nonsense on my FB page– My reply:
    I personally never called Romney or McCain racist. The system is racist. The fact that 8% (v 6% previous) of Black voters went for Trump is not indication that he is not playing to racial bias (and white nationalist sentiment) any more than the fact that working class white women voted for him means he was not sexist. The evidence is apparent in his rhetoric and even other GOP called him on it. People of various demographics are not a monolith. They may have many reasons to vote Trump that do not have to do with being a woman or Black or Latino. They could be social conservatives who object to gay rights and/or abortion. They could be working class and have really believed he was going to offer change. They could be sick as fuck of the old guard and just want change at any costs. They may even reject identity politics. That the GOP can still only attract 8% of the Black vote when the Dems (even Obama) have done so little for them shows just how embedded bias is in the GOP.

    I’m tired of white dudes writing all hyper-logical data based sounding arguments to confirm their narrative. Data gets manipulated! Be a skeptic! The evidence that Trump isn’t racist is that black people voted for him? They voted for racist Dems in the South too. Black people have voted for many many people (most politicians) invested in maintaining systemic inequality. What was their choice?? Democracy is a mediating force between beliefs. Most POC can not afford to be purists about their vote. Too much is at stake. They choose the least worst. In their case, that’s truly the choice much of the time.

  68. LW
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    You have a typo that says a MUSLIN woman was forced to remove her hijab. Should be MUSLIM.

  69. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    How do you know he wasn’t talking about a lady made of cloth?

  70. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    “I’m tired of white dudes writing all hyper-logical data based sounding arguments to confirm their narrative.”

    Well, sorry to have offended you. I simply think that false reports are damaging. Not sure why that’s very controversial but I guess it is.

  71. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Pete– I wasn’t talking to or about you. You used no data at all to make your argument, so comment does not apply. I also never said false reports weren’t damaging. I said they were to be expected and do not constitute plausible deniability in and of themselves. I totally won that argument and rarely do with you, so please just allow me that small satisfaction

  72. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Working class is not a monolith. Feminists are not a monolith. White dudes are also not a monolith:) I just enjoy that categorization, because it makes white dudes so uncomfortable– which is turn around and so fair play. Even if not productive.

  73. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Now I need to go back to cleaning up the sewer line back up into my basement. Wish I had enough income to pay for a service. Glad I grew up on a farm, so very little disgusts me. Glad I appreciate metaphor. You all will be spared my input for a while. I will literally be in the shit. Fair penance for oversharing.

  74. iRobert
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to get people to protest this white devil’s blog since long before it became popular. Months ago, I demanded that Mark turn this blog over to voices who better represent the diversity of the blog-reading community. We don’t need to be reading what amounts to just another white man’s perspective on things.

  75. Posted November 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Republicans need safe spaces.


  76. Posted November 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    And, for what it’s worth, I do believe that Pence was sent to Hamilton to deflect attention from the fact that, just hours earlier, Trump settled the fraud case against Trump University for $25 million.

  77. Jean Henry
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Gee iRobert== you would think after the results of this past election, the idea of diversity would be a little else controversial. Everyone talks of political bubbles, but no one seems to think that applies to the experience of race or gender. Class on the other hand is legit, but not if someone who actually grew up poor wants to relate his experience and it doesn’t fit the narrative. The numbers don’t even fit the Moore et al narrative. That doesn’t stop anyone from repeating it. People are being harassed and abused on the streets because they are neither white, nor Christian, nor male or some combo. Still that doesn’t seem to chasten the need to condemn the ideal of seeking diversity of perspective as somehow problematic. It can be seen as a problem on the right but can’t be on the left. If you are on the left you are somehow immune to bias? Overcoming bias is not your work then. I really thought it was our work. I don’t understand the defensiveness. It’s truly bizarre to me. What’s to fear in listening to others?

  78. Lynne
    Posted November 19, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    *Everyone* has bias. Also, it is difficult to see one’s own biases.

    “Racism is like high blood pressure—the person who has it doesn’t know he has it until he drops over with a God damned stroke.” -Coleman A Young

  79. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 20, 2016 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Trump is definitely the weakest President we will ever have. It’s going to be four years of him tweeting about how someone has said something bad about him.

    If Obama tweeted every time someone insulted him, he’d have time for nothing else

  80. Katherine
    Posted November 20, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    “Lawmaker’s ‘Suck it Up, Buttercup’ Bill Targets Students’ Trump Hysteria”

  81. Jean Henry
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    MI had the most pots-election hate crimes in the midwest– by a good stretch– according to the SPLC. (Remember that the SPLC verifies all reports) Well, at least we live where the work is now.

  82. Lynne
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I kind of wondered if maybe Ann Arbor was a target. I’ve heard from so many people about their first hand experiences with people yelling at them or verbally harassing them but all in Ann Arbor, it has made me wonder. I have heard of fewer incidents in other places although Ypsi has that issue with the graffiti on EMU campus (plus the shameful disciplining of the students for protesting the graffiti) but that is all I have heard about. I haven’t heard reports of young white men shouting out of their cars at people in Detroit or Ypsilanti but have heard several such reports from Ann Arbor. *shrug*.

  83. Anonymous
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Detroit Free Press: “Michigan had highest number of bias crimes in Midwest post-election”

  84. Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor police, according to reports in the press today, seem to think the young woman’s story about having been forced to remover her hijab under threat of violence was fabricated.

  85. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    How about the people who have been beat up for supporting Trump? One prominent supporter was even murdered. Or the nine year old boy sobbing hysterically as his own mother thought it was a good idea to teach him a lesson by making him pack his suitcase and get out for voting Trump in a school mock election?

  86. Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I tried to exercise some judgment when sharing stories like this after the election. As I recall, I chose to share this as an example because, in the MLive article, it mentioned that there were several witnesses to the event. Or at least that’s what I remember. And, yes, it sucks that someone would lie about something like this, if that’s what happened. Not only does it make people less likely to believe those who come forward with real stories of racial intimidation, but it makes people less likely to come forward in the first place.

  87. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

  88. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

  89. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

  90. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Another 20 minutes of wonderful people stamping out hate

  91. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Kind of pales in comparison huh?

  92. wobblie
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    the article states they conducted “witness interviews”. If event did not occur then how could there be witnesses. Obviously some thing happened just not exactly what the woman alleges happened. I thought I had also read that the woman, a foreign student had left the country.

  93. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Clinton campaign had no problem supporting “conflict engagement” at Trump rallies, even paying people to do it through Democracy Partners. Project Veritas

  94. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Clinton campaign employed provocateurs at Trump rallies

  95. Jean Henry
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    My friend Phoebe wears a safety pin. She says everyone knows they are for sticking into attackers.

  96. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted December 23, 2016 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it embarrassing to harp on something like this or the incident in Royal Oak and then watch all those Trump people getting beat to a pulp?

  97. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    When someone lies about being the victim of a hate crime what should the punishment be?

  98. flaxeater
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t found a follow up on an arrest or manhunt for the safety pin attack either.

    The basis of your outrage is biased, these outrageous behaviors in one case is a fabrication and the other is unsubstantiated.

    I came here because I was trying to find answers to the investigation on the safety pin attack.

  99. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 15, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Just curious: What do people think should be the young lady’s appropriate punishment now that we know this was a completely fabricated story?

  100. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Why would we speculate on punishment? That’s not our job. There’s a system in place to handle such things. It’s a pet peeve of mine when news stories lead to speculation about appropriate punishment. Usually no punishment is enough for the mob. Americans just love to believe that harsh consequences produce better outcomes, despite all evidence to the contrary.

  101. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    You don’t think it is appropriate to have a conversation about the severity of the crimes here?

    Two alleged hate crimes, in Ann Arbor, were completely manufactured out of thin air by fake victims. Is that no big deal? Is faking a a hate crime a hate crime?

    We talk about a lot of things that are outside the scope of “our job”…

    Does have a responsibility to update these stories, or is updating stories outside the scope of the job description?

  102. Jean Henry
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    No. I’m sure the police are handling it. If you want to know more, I’m sure you can look up where the cases go. This thread and others amply discussed the likelihood of some fraudulent claims. There are always fraudulent crime claims. For all kinds of crime.

    A fraudulent claim of theft by one person does not delegitimize someone else’s legitimate claim of theft.

  103. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    “I’m sure the police are handling it.”


  104. Jean Henry
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Dude, just look it up. You care. I don’t.

    And yes, I am confident the police are doing their job in this case. My exoeriences with A2 police have been largely positive. I had personal experience with a case of a fraudulent claim of vandalism, in which the owner of a vehicle who claimed she was being harassed, was found to have tagged her own car. The police did a great job of establishing the case. I have no idea if they prosecuted. I don;t care. The truth was established. I hope that woman got help. I hope the woman in this case does to.

  105. maryd
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I’m curious FF, do you ever wonder about the Jewish Community Centers being threatened by bombs. They were not faked. How about the threats to our Great Lakes, dropping our funding by 90%, or how about your grandma’s Meals on Wheels or her health care options? Maybe things are not so safe after all…I’ll keep my safety pin on thank you. Please stop defending that which is not defendable.

  106. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I am not trying delegitimize anybody’s claim to an actual injustice.

    Why would you and Jean try to mis-frame my question like that?

    I am wondering: Where should faking a hate crime rank on the list of actual injustices? It is not simply a lie is it? It is not simply a false police report is it?

  107. Lynne
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I think that false reports can and should be punished but that, like most things, it should be handled on an individual basis. False reports are serious because like it or not, they delegitimize valid claims somewhat. However, the people who submit false police reports are often mentally ill and thus there are often very good reasons to treat such cases with sensitivity.

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