For those of us who only believe what we see or what someone we like tells us is the truth, this is for you!
With no real knowledge or understanding, we have gotten into the habit of accepting beliefs and ideas as definitive fact. Yes, I know that I am a doll maker and I “play with yarn” for a living. But for the record I am a sociologist and an educator by profession. Sociology, not to be confused with Social Work, is the study of the development, structure and functioning of human society. There is an actual science to understanding the factors that influence/affect society. To ignore that is to base your existence and decision making on things that will likely make no positive difference in your life or the lives of those around you!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way it is important for me to stress the following statement: “Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s NOT happening!”
How tired I’ve grown from people believing things don’t exist beyond their own understanding. Haven’t you grown weary of those annoying “I don’t see color” people? You know the ones that think them and their friends are the reference points of all things tolerant! Telling Black and Brown people off for being too sensitive and scolding us for making “everything” about race.
So here I go with my two cents on the matter of diversity in the fiber arts community.
If you are not me, you don’t get to tell me how to react to what I feel has been constant injustice. If you’ve never operated in a field or profession dominated by a race that is NOT YOUR OWN or held a position where you were one of a small number and/or in some cases the only one of your race in that space, please have a seat and close your mouth. That’s just the feelings part of the matter though. Let’s get to the social aspect of the matter, shall we?
Statistically it is a fact that there is a significantly higher number of imagery that depicts knitters and crocheters as white females. Magazines and other publications often feature designers and contributors that are white. This is not a feeling, this is a measurable, provable FACT. One can do simple research or complex research and the conclusion will not change. There are so very many talented artists in the world of knitting and crochet and yet, even the spaces and places where the opportunity to diversify is clear and apparent, the industry still chooses to ignore us. The fact that having an all inclusive perspective yields more revenue, should be reason enough for these major companies to hop on the band wagon, but their lack of implementation implies something much more sinister if you ask me. Why have there been little to know outreach to add diversity? What are they (publications and yarn companies) looking for that they’re only able to get from white designers and contributors? Who are the people involved in editing, marketing and influencing? Who decides what’s trending and why? Why are the hottest, must have items, magazine issues, patterns and designs almost always featuring or by someone white? And I swear if I see another “new” shawl design I’m gonna lose it!😂
But seriously if you have some answers to these questions I’d love to hear them. If you know of some publications that are practicing real diversity, please share because I’m tired of always looking like the “angry Black woman” when I point out obvious facts.
I am a Black Doll Maker, who specializes in crocheting Black Dolls. I create each design with Love and Purpose and the bigger picture is to “Promote Pride and Confidence in Children of Color, Particularly Girls and even more Specifically Black Girls, in Efforts to Combat Self Hate!” Because society has been telling me since I was a little Black Girl to get over “it”. Meaning, get over slavery, get over discrimination, get over negative depictions of you and your people which by the way you did not consent to, get over your fathers’, brothers’ and sons’ brutality, get over being overbooked and over looked at the same damn time! Get over being stereotyped and being dismissed. Get over being a member of one of the smartest and industrious ethnicity/gender groups (this is a provable and measurable fact NOT AN OPINION) and yet the most underserved and under protected. By the way if you see one of us mad, maybe some of these issues are attributes to said anger! But we have been made to take the preverbal “L” and be amazing in spite of it all. For the record, we’re definitely doing that but I WILL NOT LET YOU TRICK ME INTO THINKING TO MENTION THESE VIOLATIONS IS SOME CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY OR TABOO BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE! I say/write all of this with the hopes that it makes you so uncomfortable that you address it and become a part of the solution. I hope that this makes you so mad that you become a REAL ALLY! Be so pissed with me that you work at proving me wrong! DON’T TALK ABOUT IT BE ABOUT IT! And don’t quit after February 28th either!😉