I know that this post comes way too late for the discussion, it’s even years later than the discussion of anti racism in the knitting space. However, these things need to be said. Not just on this knitting space, but also in our homes; with our friends and family.
Black Lives Matter
This is a factual and unequivocal truth, that Black and minority people in this country have been targeted unfairly for over 400 years. Recent events have given us a glimpse of that unfair treatment. The absolutely horrible and unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Amhaud Arbery are just a snapshot of what happens every day in our country to keep Black communities down.
The system isn’t broken. It’s working like it was designed to. To protect property over people. Things are more important than the value of human life.
I’ve struggled with my own value for my entire life. I grew up knowing that I was worth the dollar amount that I brought to the household. Now imagine having to live where everything is blocked for you. Certain neighborhoods are off limits thanks to red lining, getting paid less for the same job because of the color of your skin, having to work multiple minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet, having to deal with racist co-workers who will never value your humanity.
Imagine living in a world where people see you as a threat to their property instead of an actual human being.
This is why Black Lives Matter is so important. How many more mothers need to mourn the premature deaths of their children? How many kids deserve to die because they were playing with a toy gun in a park? Since when did petty theft deserve capital punishment without question or due process? Black people shouldn’t have to be perfect in order to deserve to live.
It’s time for us to wake up to see and value the humanity in Black people.
If you’re white, reading this, you’ve been blessed to live in a system that doesn’t see your race as a threat. You’ve been conditioned to believe that you’re better than “they” are. You look down your nose on black people, no matter how poor you were growing up. It’s ingrained in us. You might not even notice that you’re doing it- because we learn from our parents, who learn from their parents, who learned from their parents- it’s so ingrained that it became a part of our DNA.
What We Can Do
First we need to turn inward. Be quiet and listen to Black experiences. Trust them. Instead of speaking out or saying “I wish they would be nice about it,” examine where you are having a hard time listening- what makes you feel this way? Why do you feel like you need to police their tone? Why do you say that you don’t see color? We need to come to terms with our own inner evil. It’s there. No one is immune to it.
Second we need to learn. From now on I’ll be recommending books that talk about antiracism. We need to relearn American history if we’re going to dismantle our own internal biases. We have to take the blinders off now and be willing to change.
Third we need to amplify. We need to support Black voices without the need to interject. Believe them. We need to support Black businesses. Black artists. VOTE for people who would remove the institutional barriers that block Black families from growth.
We are in a rare place in history where we have the time and space to work out our issues. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay. We need to be a little uncomfortable right now.
Use the pandemic to give you the space to grow and learn. It’s time to stop putting your head in the sand about racism in america. We can’t be free until everyone is free.