The ways of the “woke” have seeped into every part of American life. No activity or outlet is safe. Even my beloved crafting community is no longer immune. Suddenly, knitters and crocheters need to “examine their privilege.”
For months, I’ve been unfollowing wokescolds on Instagram who, in their earnest desire to awaken me to the apparent and horrendous lack of “inclusion” in the fiber world, have made me question the hobby’s utility as escapism.
Tin Can Knits is perhaps one of the larger, and most egregious, companies to jump on the wokewagon. Concerned about the lack of BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) used as models in their photographs of finished pattern projects or their inclusion in your local crafting circle, they felt the need to out themselves as unconscious oppressors and ask for contrition from the Woke crowd.
In a February 28 blog post, the company issued this statement:
We are sorry that our Instagram feed and our publications have, overwhelmingly, reinforced white norms of beauty, instead of challenging them. We are sorry that we personally have been ignorant and not educated ourselves beyond a superficial level on issues of racism, nor considered our white privilege critically.
Apparently, white privilege is a knitted toboggan. Among the resources recommended for overcoming this scourge is White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, which, these newly awakened grannies tell us, will allow whites to “overcome your discomfort around speaking about race,” a crucial first step in managing the tricky intersection of knits and purls.
For a more recent example that is not surprising yet has caused a great deal of controversy, Ravelry issued this statement on its website on Sunday:
New policy, effective immediately
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy. For more details, read this document: https://ravelry.com/content/no-trump
In this statement, the editors at Ravelry have decided that “[y]ou can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here.” But be careful. You may be banned if you “support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content.”
And what can you do to rid Ravelry of all mention of President Trump?
You can help by flagging any of the following items if they constitute support for Trump or his administration:
Projects: Unacceptable projects will be provided to the member or made invisible to others.
Patterns: Unacceptable patterns will be returned to drafts.
Forum posts: right now, only posts written after Sunday, June 23rd at 8 AM Eastern
That’s right, fellow knitters! Become a snitch!
This is censorship. Ravelry, once filled with amazing and creative people, has now become an enforcer of leftist groupthink. They are weaponizing their members to report fellow members. Members, no doubt, will be seeking out profiles and turning in conservatives and Republicans when the ability to flag member profiles is up and running.
While no one questions the right of the editors and their members to adhere to an Anti-Trump point of view, Ravelry should take care when making a public announcement that amounts to a clear statement intended to squash free speech. Yet many organizations today are making similar statements and, rarely (if ever), are they challenged.
In response to this heavy-handed scorn, Republican and conservative knitters are flocking to Love Knitting (part of Love Crafts) and Humble Acres Yarn’s new app. The app, less than a month old, promises no political discussions, and all are welcome. Humble Acres still supports Ravelry as a business and, until this episode, they’ve always had a good business model. But Humble Acres’ openness and (heh!) humility is refreshing. We don’t have to agree on political, social, or cultural issues to come together over our mutual interest in and love for all things yarn.
As more indie dyers and others join Ravelry’s call for intolerance and hate against Trump supporters and conservatives, we will keep searching for an alternative. Knitters like me just want to find great patterns and chat with like-minded yarn lovers . . . about yarn!
Ravelry’s policy “inspiration” came from the gaming world’s “RPG.net,” which implemented a similar ban. The language is virtually the same.
1. We are banning support of the administration of President Trump. You can still post on RPG.net even if you do in fact support the administration—you just can’t talk about it here.
2. We are absolutely not endorsing the Democrats nor are we banning all Republicans.
3. We are certainly not banning conservative politics, or anything on the spectrum of reasonable political viewpoints. We assert that hate groups and intolerance are categorically different from other types of political positions, and that confusing the two legitimizes bigotry and hatred.
4. We are not going to have a purge — we will not be banning people for past support. Though if your profile picture is yourself in a MAGA hat, this might be a good time to change it.
5. We will not permit witch-hunts, progressive loyalty-testing, or attempting to bait another into admitting support for President Trump in order to get them banned. The mod staff will deal harshly with attempts to weaponize this policy.
6. It is not open season on conservatives, and revenge fantasies against Trump and Trump supporters are still against the rules.
Sorry, gamers. But your escapist world is also a place where Trump supporters are not allowed. Note that you cannot have an avatar with MAGA on it.
Needless to say, companies wearing political commentary on their sleeves, had better stick to the armbands provided by the totalitarian Left.
Recently, Daisy Cottage Quilting stated her pro-life stance on Instagram. One commenter told her to “stay in your lane” and stick to quilting before unfollowing her and she still receives hate mail almost three weeks after the incident.
Wokescolds will make you miserable until you give in or slink away. Then they sit back smugly and congratulate themselves for their ability to silence dissent. Standing up to them takes guts these days because you will be vilified and slammed at every opportunity. Gibson’s Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio proved it can be done.
I hate, truly hate, that politics has leached into every part of society. I knit and quilt and sew. I do these things for fun, enjoyment, and escape from the outside world. Now politics have invaded my crafting world and it makes me sad and angry. Can’t we just knit and enjoy each other’s company?
Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images