No more "listening and learning" please, we need to step up.

Posted by Rain Kleindolph on

I was reading/watching my Instagram story feed this afternoon and saw someone say something to the effect of, "Listening and Learning is the new Thoughts and Prayers." It was in regards to the current discussions about racism in the fiber and fashion world, making our community more inclusive, and addressing the underlying bias and lack of representation within the knitting and slow fashion communities. I mean, that's barely even a nutshell, it's about so much more and it's been going on for almost two full months now, so there's a lot of content. 

Anyway, I saw that comment in someone's story (I can't remember whose, if I find it again I will come back here and credit) and it just floored me. Because I have been "listening and learning" over here, instead of using my space to amplify these stories and voices, I have been sitting in uncomfortable silence. I have been offering the equivalent of "thoughts and prayers" to my friends and colleagues in the maker, fashion, and knitting communities. 

I'm so sorry. I see it. I promise that going forward, I will not use "learning" as an excuse to stay silent and safe.  

I do truly believe that when it comes to racism, beyond standing up and saying, "I see this, it is not okay, it will not stand and I will not make it okay, not when your lives are literally on the line," my voice is not the one that matters here, it is not the voice that should be centered.  I want to use this platform, my Insta, and other places I have a voice, to amplify what BIPOC designers, knitters, and fiber lovers are saying about their own lived experiences. At least where I can. I don't fool myself that a lot of people read this blog, but at least one or two do, so I hope you're looking at this stuff for yourself. 

This conversation matters. I know a lot of people are saying that "politics should get out of knitting," and "knitting/fashion/design is my safe space away from the worries of the world." I just want to put out there that peoples lives are not politics. Equality is not politics. Yes, we are talking about it in the political sphere and political policy must be crafted and/or dismantled, as needed. But this is a conversation about the fundamental inequality and racism that people are experiencing in our community and that's not politics. That's just life.

We should really care about other people's lives. 

These makers have been really putting themselves out there on Instagram, they've made me think and I'd like to boost their blog, Unfinished Object, to my readers. For some reason, Shopify's editor won't let me link in text lately, so here is the URL. Go check it out. 

If you have not worked through Layla F. Saad's Me and White Supremacy workbook, you really should check it out.

I've also learned so much from the writing and work of people like Ijeoma Oluo, Catrice M. Jackson, Kat Blaque, Leslie Mac, Rachel Cargle, Aliza M. Hausman, and others. You can find most of them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and/or Patreon. Buy them a coffee, subscribe to their patreon if you can. 

So a little note, I went searching for "knitting hands" to get a photo to use in this post? All the stock photos were of white hands knitting. All of them. Just as a little illustration of my point. So I used a picture of a sock instead because that irritated me and representation matters. 

I welcome your thoughts. Comments are moderated, but on.

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