Remember when we talked about how the world at large is pretty damn racist and that carries right on over to the knitting community…no matter how much you wish it didn’t? Yeah, well it’s an ongoing conversation and I’ve got some more stuff I think you should read (and for the record, it’s good that the conversation is continuing…this isn’t a ‘think about it once and then congratulate yourself for having thought about it and be done with it’ sort of issue).
There is a great article over on Vox that talks about what’s been going on (if you’re on instagram, you’ve probably already seen lots of folks linking to this, but I know not all of you are). The article is full of all sorts of good links if you want to catch up or if you want to hear more from the folks leading the conversation. I’m going to particularly recommend the Unfinished Object website that Grace Anna, Korina, Ocean, and Sukrita (four of the folks most involved in this conversation on instagram) have created. Their Frequently Asked Questions, Answered post is especially important.
And if you come away from reading all that thinking ‘right, so I probably need to know more about the ways systemic racism shapes my life, even if I don’t like to consider myself racist,’ I’ve got some more places for you to dive in. White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo is great. (The book is very approachable, but if you’re up for something aimed at a more academic audience, you can find Diangelo’s article on the same topic here. But keep in mind it’s an article for the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy…so don’t let the style of the article scare you away from the book. Check out this video for an easier intro.). Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is another excellent read, as is Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers her Superpower by Brittney Cooper. All of these absolutely positively will make you feel uncomfortable at some point while you read them…that’s kind of the point. But you’re tough, you can take it. I promise it’s worth it.
Oh, and while we’re talking about it, feelings like ‘I apparently need to learn a lot more about this, and that sounds kind of exhausting’ or ‘well damn, I didn’t realize just how pervasive racism is, this sucks’ or ‘oh crap, I’m starting to suspect I’m part of the problem and that makes me hideously uncomfortable’ are totally reasonable. Those are all growing pains feelings and they’re great places to start from. We all were raised in and live in societies with really messed up ideas about race, and realizing that and changing how you think is a lifelong process. It’s bound to be hard and feel daunting at times. Hang in there.
Feelings like ‘racism isn’t a thing any more’ or ‘people are just too sensitive’ or ‘knitting is my happy place, don’t ruin it with this’ or ‘someone was mean to me in a yarn store once too and I didn’t make a big deal about it, just get over it’ are not so cool. If you find yourself feeling that way, I’m going to suggest again that you spend some more time listening to what people are telling they’re feeling and experiencing. And if, after that, you still feel that way, then we’re probably not a good fit and you’re probably not going to like it here. It’s totally cool if you want to go.
As with last time, comments are being moderated (that means you can leave a comment, but it won’t be posted until I’ve had a chance to read it…and if you leave nasty or threatening or dismissive comments, I am totally comfortable deleting them). So far everyone is being awesome, which is fabulous…keep it up!