Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Raising my fist in solidarity

If you're part of the crafting community on instagram you've undoubtedly become aware of the discussions going on right now regarding diversity. I haven't posted about it on IG, not because I don't have opinions but only because I really dislike instagram as a platform for having serious discussions. I know this is going to make me sound 100 years old but honestly I just figured out you can pause IG Stories but am otherwise kind of clueless, and I find it impossible to follow the discussion because of the way IG comments are set up. So I've avoided it on my own feed. But because I don't want to seem like I'm tacitly approving the status quo I've decided to talk about it on my blog, where I can bloviate freely, so here goes.

I have a somewhat unique background in that I was born in Korea but was adopted by a white family at 5 months old and raised in the American south. The town I grew up in was predominantly white with a growing latino population. My family and I have had to endure silly questions about my background my entire life. Everything from people thinking that when I began talking that my parents wouldn't be able to understand me because I'd start speaking Korean to being identified frequently as hispanic because I wasn't white and therefore must be latino as the only other race that lived in the area. I am well aware that people of other backgrounds have had much worse experiences than I have as my life has never been threatened. But just to let you know where I am coming from I have experienced things like people following me while making ching-chong sounds at me and in high school a friend told me that I was the only asian person that his dad had ever liked because he "hated chinks" and I was the rare exception. I've never really felt like I fit in with any community.

More insidious to me personally has been the model minority myth. It's difficult to explain if you haven't experienced it because on paper it doesn't sound so bad. All I can say is that i've been an underachiever my entire life and I hated being singled out for being smart or good at music or whatever because all i have ever wanted is just to be left alone. I also despise being held up as the "good" representative of minorities which still happens to me currently all the time. You have no idea how many people will disparage other minorities while I'm in the room and then smile and say, "but of course, not YOU--YOU'RE one of the good ones." and I wish that I were brave enough more often enough to speak up and tell those people not to use me to shield themselves from their racism but I'm not always able to do it and for that I am sorry.

To bring this discussion back to crafts, last year I reposted a tweet that a quilting company that I had previously liked and purchased from regularly had retweeted an offensive remark from the US president. I thought that people should be aware that they had done this because I would have wanted to know if I hadn't seen it. I received a lot of support but also some backlash from white women who said things like I should just stick to crafting, or why do we have to bring politics into everything, or why am i destroying someone's business for merely posting their opinion? Honestly I was taken aback by the response and I did a lot of thinking offline and what I finally concluded for myself was this:

The crafting community, as long as I've been a part of it, has always had false ideals. That knitting (or sewing, or whatever) brings people together and that we can all get along and that "all knitters are NICE." This idea is full of shit. It's just the law of averages. Some knitters are nice, and some of them are real assholes, and some of them are racist, and some of them are, I assume, good people. Policing others for speaking up is just a way to shame people into adhering to this false ideal where we all pretend that everything is NICE because to think otherwise makes people uncomfortable.

But guess what? The world is awake to the fact that not everything is nice for everyone. To continue to put your head in the sand and to deny it is just perpetuating a myth that never existed. And I personally am tired of it. I have felt the pressure to keep quiet and not alienate people and not be myself because I might offend potential customers or lose followers or whatever and I'm done with that. No more sending DMs and spreading the word quietly--If I see bullshit I'm going to name and shame because those businesses and individuals deserve it. It's 2019 and I'm fresh out of fucks to give.

I am not in a position to educate but I can listen and learn from others who are so I would like to thank individuals like @su.krita, and @thecolormustard, and @lemontangos, and @knitquiltsewstitch, and @snerbyarn, and @transitory, and @dawn.landix, and countess others who are doing the exhausting work of trying to enlighten people and share their own stories.

For myself I plan to continue to expose myself to more diverse viewpoints, support more BIPOC-owned businesses, thank those who are putting in the work and making positive changes, and speak up when I feel it's warranted. And if you have read all this and are angry or disappointed and you want to unfollow me immediately please do so. Don't read my blog, unfollow me on social media, and don't buy my shit. I don't want you here. To everyone else, I see you, and you are welcome.

12 comments:

  1. “"all knitters are NICE." This idea is full of shit. It's just the law of averages. Some knitters are nice, and some of them are real assholes, and some of them are racist, and some of them are, I assume, good people. ” Yes!!!

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  2. Thanks for your honesty. This is a very difficult time in the world, and particularly in the USA. Hope we survive the current administration.

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  3. ♡♡♡ Way to go! Please speak your truth.

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  4. This is so well said, thanks for sharing. I found your knitting instagram account because you posted this. I hope you get lots more new follows who appreciate you and your politics! (everything is political, knitting was always political, white folks have just had the privilege to try to pretend otherwise)

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  5. Mankind should just be righteous to one another .That would solve alot .

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    1. They should be but I don't have a great deal of hope that they will.

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  6. Yessss! I totally agree about Instagram, can be hard to have a proper conversation, and likewise I only just figured out you could pause stories. I have only a bit more than zero idea of how to make my own. Having said that, it's a great way for people to have this topic shoved in their faces so they can't stay in their little comfort zone :-)

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  7. Two words...Thank you. You get it!

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