Knitting: A Hotbed of Racism?

For some people these days, every single thing is about race. This article in Vox, a web site for low-information young people, reads like a parody. But I am pretty sure it is serious. The topic? “The knitting community is reckoning with racism.” Personally, I didn’t even know there was a “knitting community.”

It begins with a young (white) knitter who expressed enthusiasm about an upcoming trip to India on social media:

On January 7, she blogged excitedly about her upcoming trip to India. She wrote that 2019 would be her “year of color.” She said that as a child, India had fascinated her, and that when an Indian friend’s parents offered to take her with them on a trip, it was “like being offered a seat on a flight to Mars.” She spoke of her trip as if it were the biggest hurdle anyone could jump: “If I can go to India, I can do anything — I’m pretty sure.” Templer, it should be noted, is white.

As someone who is mixed-race Indian, to me, her post (though seemingly well-meaning) was like bingo for every conversation a white person has ever had with me about their “fascination” with my dad’s home country; it was just so colorful and complex and inspiring. It’s not that they were wrong, per se, just that the tone felt like they thought India only existed to be all those things for them.

Following a major controversy in the online knitting community, the offender offered a Maoist apology:

Templer has since apologized for her post, writing, “It took women of color pointing this out for me to see it … which is not their responsibility, and I am thankful to them for taking the time,” and that she’d be continuing to raise visibility of people of color (and specifically black/indigenous POC) knitters and their work.”

Knitting apparently has made a comeback:

Odds are if you’re in your 20s or 30s, you have at least one friend who’s gotten really into knitting in the past few years. … Social media and the internet have allowed more people than ever to share their love of fiber arts….

“Fiber arts.” But the most important thing about “social media and the internet” is that they encourage talk about race:

Social media also makes pointing out racism easier than ever. For weeks, POC knitters have used Instagram, and specifically Instagram stories, to share their observations, tag other knitters, and conduct polls about others’ experiences with racism in the community. Hundreds of people of color have shared stories of being ignored in knitting stores, having white knitters assume they were poor or complete amateurs, or flat-out saying they didn’t think black or Asian people knit.

There is much more–“whitewashing,” for example. If lefties can turn knitting into a hotbed of racism, what can’t they do?

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