I Stand with Ravelry

If you’ve been on social media recently, or even simply watching the news, it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that Ravelry, the fiber crafters’ beloved social network, has banned open support for Trump and his regime. Far from being a quiet announcement among a specialized group, this new policy has been reported by media outlets across the nation.

The outpouring of support has been immense. So, predictably, has the backlash. With everyone taking sides, I cannot remain silent.

Anyone who follows me should probably have noticed, even if I am not always vocal about it, that I am not and never have been in favor of the current administration’s activities. I agree with Ravelry that support for Trump is support for (among many other things) white supremacy, racism, sexism, terrorism, and in general “man’s inhumanity to man” (with apologies to women and non-male-identifying people).

If that’s all you need to hear to boycott me and my books and patterns, it’s been nice having your support thus far and I’ll be happy to have you back if/when you learn to see all human beings as worthy of respect and dignity and the Earth as worthy of protection. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on the situation, by all means read on.

First of all, it is 100% possible to lead a non-racist life and still be a racist. You can volunteer at homeless shelters, donate to charities that help the disadvantaged, have cordial conversations with your immigrant neighbors, support black-owned businesses, etc. But if you support Trump, you are either actively supporting or being willing to ignore the behaviors and policies that increase homelessness, maintain inequality, stigmatize immigration, and further racial discrimination (all of which is just the tip of the iceberg).

Second, to the countless people who are incensed that knitters are getting “political”: Where have you been for the past few years? Decades? Craftivism is not a new thing, and you probably couldn’t have missed the “pussy hat” phenomenon from 2016. Ravelry is, among other things, a collection of forums about countless topics. The only thing that its users have in common is the fact that they knit (or crochet, etc). Forums exist to allow knitters with other common interests to converse on those topics. Forums/groups definitely exist with political leanings or agendas. This is because, (surprise), knitters are people! Just because I am a knitter doesn’t mean that all I ever do is knit, and that I have no opinions on anything else. You may go to Ravelry to escape from the world, but there are other perfectly valid reasons to use it.

Third, to those who think it is a bad precedent to set to ban supporters of a particular president: this is not about right vs left anymore. Trump’s actions are so harmful, so shameless, so detrimental not only to the livelihoods of a majority of Americans but to life on this planet in general, that I think we can legitimately call this a fight between good and evil. There is no precedent for this. No president has done more to destroy the country he ostensibly leads than this one. The harm he has done and is doing is only beginning; we will not see the true results of some of it until much later, well after it’s too late to fix it properly.

Finally, from a conversation with my mother, a university professor who has taught (among other things) social movement theory, it is not unusual — indeed, it is normal — for dissent to take root in small communities, even not-explicitly-political ones. As dissent is normalized in innocuous places, it becomes part of our day-to-day lives. As dissent becomes mainstream, those who normalize racism/white supremacy, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric/action, sexism, etc, will find themselves with fewer platforms from which to spread their hatred. Expect Ravelry’s decision to embolden other places where hatred has a foothold. I look forward to the news of these decisions.

Thank you for reading this far. Before I sign off, I want to say that, even on Ravelry, our work is not done. While they have taken one step in the right direction, there are plenty of people who have left the platform due to bullies hiding behind digital anonymity, causing real-life problems. From some of these people, I have heard that Ravelry’s response has essentially been “get over it” — so I am hoping their exercise in compassion here will inform their treatment of similar, non-politically-motivated issues on their site.