Remember that conversation we had about racism in the Crafts community? Well, there has been a lot of fall out from that beginning. I feel like at least part of all this began with the pink pussy hats in 2016, and the conversations surrounding the use of the hats to represent ALL women, because not all women have vaginas, and pink pussy hats don’t actually represent WoC. That opened the door to the discussion of how WoC are sometimes excluded from events on Ravelry that are supposed to be representative of all women, like the knit breasts, for women who have had mastectomies, that are also pink.
Mostly this began in January, on Instagram, and has finally culminated in Ravelry putting its foot down, and making a definitive statement. Trump is a White Nationalist/Supremacist, and support for him and his policies, is support for those issues, too.
In January, Karen Templar gushed about her upcoming trip to India using some unflattering and insensitive comparisons, that upset PoC in the crafting community. She has since made the effort to learn from the experience by listening to the people she hurt, and apologizing for any harm she caused.
I have hurt, angered and disappointed a lot of people this week with my insensitive post about my upcoming trip to India and my handling of the response, and I am deeply sorry about it. I’ve spent the week listening hard, learning (in part about how much more I have to learn), and thinking about all of the things I can do — particularly here on the blog — to be more inclusive and supportive of people of color. I can’t take any of this week back, but I will work hard to do better going forward.
For those who didn’t see anything offensive in my post, I feel it’s important to spell it out for everyone to see and think about, and hopefully learn from:
First, it reads like I’m a tourist looking for an exotic location for my next selfie, which is inherently horrible — India is not a set or a backdrop for white people. It reads that way because I didn’t take the time to talk about why I’m going, which is to meet textile artisans and learn more about their craft. I’m coming to India from a place of respect for the relevance of textiles in the country’s liberation from British rule.
Second, and more egregiously, when I said that to my anxiety-ridden teenage self the offer of travel to India felt like an offer of travel to Mars, I gave the impression that I equate the people of India with aliens — literally alienizing people who aren’t like me. It doesn’t matter that that’s not how I intended it. By being careless with my words, I perpetuated the harmful notion that Indians (and POC in general) are “other,” or even to be feared. People who are the target of racism every day were rightly offended by it, as were others. And I am so sorry.
Third, I compounded the Mars problem by bringing it up again (to say that my grown-up self might even consider space travel if I got the chance) by referencing an interview I had heard about the impending “colonization” of Mars. I brought up colonization in a piece about a country marred by colonialism and didn’t see it. Everyone who was shocked at that was right to be, and I’m shocked at myself.
That’s not comprehensive, but it’s the main thrust of it. It took women of color pointing this out for me to see it — starting with the annotation that @thecolormustard posted in her Story — which is not their responsibility, and I am thankful to them for taking the time. If you’re struggling to understand the response, please just sit with it and give it some serious thought, from their point of view.
I apologize profusely to everyone I hurt, and to everyone who has taken any kind of heat for calling me out on it. I was wrong, and the women who took the risk to speak out were right. I’ll be doing the work, sharing the resources*, and doing my part to raise the visibility and celebrate the actual beautiful diversity of this community.
*Currently reading: The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison (recommended by @nappyknitter). If you haven’t read Morrison’s novels, get on that too.
What happened with Karen opened up a number of discussions in the community about how BIPoC are treated, and what White people within the communities can do to make everyone feel more welcoming, with some members of the community showing their true faces about political topics that don’t directly concern them, and they remain willfully ignorant about.
Ravelry decided, after some extreme events last week, which I will get into in a moment, to ban speaking about trump and his administration, as he and his policies support White Nationalism, and doing so creates an unsafe space for BIPoC, and others.
“There are people who have been talking down to other people because they can’t afford anything better than craft yarn from Michael’s,” she said. “Knitting has always been political, whether you believe it or not.”
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry.
This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content. Note that your project data will never be deleted. We will never delete your Ravelry project data for any reason and if a project needs to be removed from the site, we will make sure that you have access to your data. If you are permanently banned from Ravelry, you will still be able to access any patterns that you purchased. Also, we will make sure that you receive a copy of your data.
We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.
- You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here.
- We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans.
- We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.
- We are not banning people for past support.
- Do not try to weaponize this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support.
- Similarly, antagonizing conservative members for their unstated positions is not acceptable.
You can help by flagging any of the following items if they constitute support for Trump or his administration:
- Projects: Unacceptable projects will be provided to the member or made invisible to others.
- Patterns: Unacceptable patterns will be returned to drafts.
- Forum posts: right now, only posts written after Sunday, June 23rd at 8 AM Eastern
- Profiles: Unacceptable avatars or profile text will be removed.
Much of this policy was first written by a roleplaying game site, not unlike Ravelry but for RPGs, named RPG.net. We thank them for their thoughtful work. For citations/references, see this post on RPG.net: https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/new-ban-do-not-po…