I drafted this dude back in the last week of November, after the recent eruption in the Fiber and Textiles community on the topic of racism. When Kristy Glass broke everything.
No matter the intensity of blue skies and sun this week, it has felt like a particularly dark one.
In the beginning of 2019, the internet’s Fiber and Textiles community blew up and rippled throughout the year over the topic of the thick, unrelenting racism that has tethered the white-washed, fibered halls for generations.
Finally. Not for a lack of silence, mind you. It had been brought up on countless occasions before by many, myself included, on the very clear and distinct line etched in the cement between the BIPOC community and the caucacity in crafting that be. Up until that point, the discomfort felt over decades of trying to pierce the mass bubble of exclusivity had gone mostly ignored.
‘It would figure,’ I thought to myself, bitterly. I dove back into the social ether after all of this occurred, during the beginning of the pandemic when the thought of seeing no-one ever again loomed imminent. I had been on a much needed break from “the social network” that ended up lasting well beyond a year because when I break, I break pretty hard.
I had no idea the conversation had finally shifted from a whisper to a roar and I was elated. Within the first few months of being back, I had found so many POC creators and was falling in love with fiber all over again through a new lens. I went on a social media unfollowing spree and replaced them with as many new creators I could find. I removed all of the current yarn shops I had in my favorites and started ordering yarn exclusively through Black-owned, indie dyers. I was floored by the amount that I hadn’t known about prior to this point. One could say, this was a very large reason as to why I made it through 2020.
The mood and vibe had changed, and noticeably in some cases. Many white shops and creators were finally working with and incorporating the POC community into their world, bringing a call to action on what types of changes and conversations need to take place in order to break up the crafting clique that had fused so strongly. It was a long, long, LONG overdue change that needed to take place and the gears felt like they were at least beginning to turn.
It’s incredible how quickly a tide can shift from one direction to the next in a snap.
Kristy Glass (a popular crafter in the fiber community, of whom I knew literally nothing about until last Friday) decided to open all the wounds within the POC community that are still only at a stage of working towards closing up. The blood hasn’t even coagulated yet, y’all.
The details of the incident are not for me to rehash. In fact, I highly HIGHLY encourage any retellings of the story to be done through the Instagram videos of the POC creators themselves, cited below, as well as the ONLY news article so far that has provided the actual truth of it all, courtesy of the Daily Beast. These, as well as the poignantly portrayed details laid out by one Heather M. Collins, who has specifically summarized the incident through a series of blunt and humorous tweets.
The tornado of discussion is now back in full swing and this time, I am actually here for it. I am feeling it. I am hearing it. I am seeing it; the frustration, the anger, the hurt, and the emotional exhaustion. Folks back to showing their true colors and standing up for KG because, well, she ‘apologized, stop yelling at her, she’s sensitive’. I just can’t.
As someone who grew up in gas lighting heaven, noticing the stark differences between a true apology and what you are SUPPOSED to accept as an apology is like noticing what makes daytime different from nighttime. It’s not science, it’s the POC community’s reality. Sincerity versus sinister.
Amongst the many problematic incidents cited for Glass’ behavior was charging Black women for their one time highlight on her social reaches. A stunt she still had the audacity to pull immediately after we JUST had the reparations discussion ten times over in 2020. Sinister.
During this whole rehashing of the bigger discussion of racism, many have mentioned that they ‘had no idea that this community even HAD any racism in it’. Outside of the mass muscle strain on my eyes rolling too far into my sockets, for them, I feel a strong sense of sadness. I feel sorry that their world is so centralized around their own privilege that they forget the bigger picture, which is older than any person living today: racism is fuckin’ everywhere. EVERYWHERE. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. If you are still saying ‘I had no idea it was there!’ or, ‘I am not racist because…’, my dears, you still have miles upon miles of learning to go. A state’s long amount of miles. Like, the size of Texas or California, but you have to walk it, miles.
For anyone reading this that is not within the Fiber and Textiles community, I encourage you to share these creators’ stories and the (factually correct) news articles. I encourage you to speak the hell up when you know something is wrong, continue having the difficult, uncomfortable, and hard to have conversations, and stop sitting in one place.
Change is not comfortable but change is the only way to continue moving the gears. The conversation has to keep going, whether you like it or not. Nothing in this life that is worth fighting for is easy.
POC Creators you should know and follow and love and buy things from:
Adella Colvin – Lolabean Yarns
Laverne Benton – Bzy Peach Yarns
Diane Ivey – Lady Dye Yarns
Gaye Glasspie – GG Made It
Tenita Neals – Broke and Crafty
Nia Miles – The Crochet Cove