A few words on inclusivity
Louisette and Gino circa 1950-ish, France. My mom and Dad.
I have been struggling to find the time to process my strong emotions over the lack of inclusive representation in our community and draft something that doesn’t sound trite after the discussions we’ve all been having and seeing online. The idea that I am supporting hatred and ignorance by not speaking up is not ok for me, so I am diving straight in today.
I am a hidden person of colour and the issue of inclusion/exclusion is the story of my life. I am perceived as white but have never really identified as such, though have been blessed to not have the kind of barriers placed on me that my loved ones have.
I have felt discrimination both as a child of a dark skinned, immigrant Canadian mother in a red-neck, primarily white small town. Later as an overweight child I experienced more discrimination at school and have never really shaken off the sense of seeing the world as an outsider.
I find myself at a loss to deal with the deep anger I feel at the resistance to discussion in our community, but also at myself for maybe not being as vocal as I should have been. Yes the knitting world, much like the art world is dominated by images of white faces and it is well past time this was addressed and acknowledge it more publicly as my business. Since I began dyeing in 2013 I noted the lack of a more well-rounded representation of images in our small corner of the world and spoke to others about it, but didn’t have the funds myself to hire models to show people what I know the world to be – not primarily white, but also many shades of glorious browns. People who don’t identify with the limiting 2 genders most of us grow up believing to be the norm. Wonderful bodies that are older or different to the stick thin models we always see trying to sell us clothing. Limited to using the models I know in a small town where I know few people, I have reverted to using myself more often than not just for monetary reasons but also because I am me… and that is good enough. I want people online to see the face of a real, flawed, goofy-smiled olive skinned person and not some idealised one-in-ten beauty hired from an agency.
I have always felt I am inclusive of others and have always been viciously intolerant and very vocal against discrimination in my day to day life, but also knowing I have a lot to learn as well, so continuing to listen, read and grow. I KNOW for a fact that I am privileged and SHOULD do more and be more vocal, and the overdue discussions our community is having is something that is making me look deeper at myself and re-examining my own lack action. I have been caught up in my day to day and can do better.
So. Apologies for not stepping up sooner but have been processing and hoping to find a better way of joining in, but in the end I suppose diving in with both feet is my style anyway.
As my business is me – Kettle Yarn Co. is and has always been about inclusivity. I welcome everyone who is willing to educate themselves – think, listen, question and grow. Reality is something we create for ourselves through our experiences but also through how we interpret those experiences and learn along the way. Wouldn’t you much rather create a world of love and acceptance instead of hatred and fear? Listening to others is how we can see that our insular worlds can be much bigger, brighter and more wonderful than the small-minded thinking most of us were raised with, myself included.
If you are unable to get past your knee-jerk reactions of the things you’ve been told or taught in hate, I’m unable to be your friend. Instead, know that I have always been and will always BE opposing you all the way.