I should have known there is no such thing as a safe place from my personal, privileged background, particularly not a crafting community. I am a white, genderqueer person living an alternative lifestyle. I have been pushed around and excluded often in my life, but this is nothing compared to the stories BIPOC (black and indigenous people of colour) have shared on Instagram.
The discussion started in early January with a problematic blog post by Karen Templer about her upcoming trip to india. @thecolormustard was one of the first people to dedicate her a series of Instagram stories highlighting the racist, white-privileged parts of the blog post. Other important contributors to this discussion are, among others, @su.krita,
@astitchtowear, @tina.say.knits, @ocean_bythesea, @booksandcables, @burkehousecrafts, @masteryarnsmith and @knitquiltsewstitch. All of them have fantastic story highlights on what it is all about and how to educate yourself on the topics of white privilege and (everyday) racism. Karen Templer reacted by trying to understand and unlearn her white supremacy. Nice move!
After about two weeks of ongoing discussion on Instagram, I thought everyone had understood, that even in the oh-so-cosy knitting community there is a major issue with racism even if the dominant white part of it was not aware. Then Maria Tusken, a hand-dyer posted this video. If you are new to the topic of white supremacy, you may want to start the above mentioned workbook before you watch the video. The “issue” mentioned is called “racism”. People are accused of following a one-sided belief (racism) to bully others no matter if it ruined their business. She thinks there was a huge majority afraid to speak up against these false accusations. As if this was not enough, she has linked to a questionable video to support her views. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
In case you do not understand what is wrong with tuskenknits’ video, @antigonanyc has put a pretty good summary in her story highlights. What strikes me most, is the remark on the silent majority. This is a term used mainly by populist and right-wing activists to justify their actions. @astitchtowear also has a story highlight on the term “silent majority”, its origin as well as its current meaning. In short, the silent majority are “comfortable, housed, clad and fed [people], who constitute the middle stratum of society. But they aspire to more and feel menaced by those who have less”. Please let this sink in. Are you feeling exposed now? Act. Educate yourself. Speak up.
There are so many wonderful BIPOC, LGBT and differently discriminated people in the fibre world. It is time to change perspective from the current white-centered point of view. Be aware of white supremacy, unlearn it, stop excluding crafters with a different socio-cultural background from yours, support small BIPOC businesses, speak up. Racism is real.