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A Difficult Discussion

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Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion about racism in the online and physical knitting community. I have taken that time to think if/what I would like to say about the issue. I’m a very slow thinker and I wanted very much to say what I think is important. So here goes. For those that don’t know me (so you know where I’m coming from), I’m a white, 48 year old English woman living in Australia since 1975.

I acknowledge that the colour of my skin allows me the privilege of not knowing what BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) go through on a daily basis in terms of the racist actions of others. It also offers me the freedom to walk away from the discussion (which I have chosen not to do).

Even though I am classed in some “other” categories (disabled, bi, a tomboy in many respects), I acknowledge that the colour of my skin allows me to not have to endure these types of actions on a constant basis. Therefore I do have to not carry the hurt, fear or emotional exhaustion created by those actions around with me every day.

I acknowledge that it is up to me to seek out this knowledge in order to be a better person, and is not the work of black, indigenous, and people of color to do that work for me.

I acknowledge that I have made mistakes in the past and am extremely sorry for the hurt they have caused. As a person who shares historical needlework patterns and vintage public domain publications, I have used the excuse that racist projects are “of their time” and whilst not appropriate for today, they should remain in a historical context. I was wrong.

I would like all black, indigenous, and people of color to know that I will always endeavour to make this website a safe space from now on.

As of June last year I began updating the whole site, which included removing any racist projects form downloadable vintage pdfs, and any projects that appropriated aspects of other cultures. The new site went live on October 6th 2018*

I will continue to follow and promote the work of textile artists of all cultures, as I always have.

Most importantly, if I make a mistake I promise black, indigenous, and people of color that:

  • I will listen to what you say without excuses.
  • I will not “tone police“.
  • I will never say “I didn’t mean to”. I will acknowledge the hurt my actions have caused.
  • I will act upon the problem in order to make it right.
  • In my day to day life I will call out other white people on their racist actions.

I will always do my best to be a safe person to talk to.

Sarah

* I am still working on correcting the closed captions on my Youtube videos. If you’d like to help please let me know as there are a lot and I’m only one person!

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Posted in Inclusivity

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