For once this post isn't about my thoughts about my spinning; rather it's about the thoughts that have been spinning through my head the past few days.
I know we like to think of the fiber arts community as one in which everyone is kind, helpful, and accepting. Sadly, as many of us have discovered in the past week, that is not the case. Just as it does everywhere, racism exists in the fiber arts community. Many BIPOC who are fiber artists have spoken out in the past week about their experiences and have called out racism where they have seen it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I suggest you start by googling "Karen Templer India blog post" and see what comes up. There's a lot to read and a lot to take in.
I've been thinking about how to respond, if at all, to this discussion and to the larger issue. On the one hand, I am a white woman, with all the privilege that entails, and in a general way, I am part of the problem. It doesn't feel like my place to say anything because it's not my story to tell. On the other hand, I also feel like it is my duty to use the privilege I do have to raise up and amplify the voices of those who don't have it and who are hurt by racism, intentional or not.
What it comes down to for me is this: I want to live in a world where everyone is respected for their inherent value, regardless of what they look like, where they come from, who they love, or what they believe. And part of respecting people is believing them when they say they feel victimized, discriminated against, or upset. It is not my job to lead or steer the conversation; my job is to listen, to take the words to heart, to learn, and to grow. I didn't earn the privilege I have, but if I do have it, at least I can use it to help those who struggle to get their voices heard, who are taken for granted, who are misjudged and mistreated.
I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about this situation or that I am without fault. I'm sure I have unfairly judged people based on some aspect of who they are, whether that is their skin color, how they speak, or even what yarn they use. I am constantly working on myself and trying to be a better ally and advocate. So please do call me out if I do or say someone that is offensive. Please do tell me what I can do to make our community more inclusive for all. Please do suggest books or articles or blog posts I can read to continue to educate myself. And please do continue to share your experiences if you've been a victim of racism in our community. We can only change if we are honest and open and if we are actively seeking the change. And I truly hope we will be.