In an odd turn of events, an online knitting site has banned Trump supporters and white supremacists. Apparently the two groups of people are one and the same to the site’s owners. A tweet Sunday afternoon notified supporters of the change in the website’s policy.
Ravelry.com has taken an unusual stand by bringing politics into the craft of knitting. (The site’s Twitter bio also shows support for #BlackLivesMatter, for what it’s worth.) No matter the reason, this new policy was necessary and the announcement was ham-handed and confusing. Who knew fiber crafts were so political and lean so far left that all Trump voters are painted with such an ugly, broad brush?
You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here.
We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans.
We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.
We are not banning people for past support.
Do not try to weaponize this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support.
Similarly, antagonizing conservative members for their unstated positions is not acceptable.
The tweet was so random to those seeing it that one person asked if the account had been hacked. The response from Ravelry was no, it’s real.
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. More details: https://t.co/hEyu9LjqXa
— Ravelry (@ravelry) June 23, 2019
Some in the Twitterverse mocked the tweet and suggested the site’s new slogan should be “We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all.” Sounds about right to me.
Responses to the announcement brought cheers and jeers online, which was foreseeable by everyone except, it seems, Ravelry. In today’s divided political environment, it’s ridiculous to expect customers to share one point of view. And it’s insulting to assume a Trump voter is necessarily also a white supremacist. With that line of reasoning, America has almost 63 million white supremacists that can be counted. The total of non-voting white supremacists isn’t known. You can see how absurd this is.
One critic hopes the site’s bottom line is affected. How could it not be? And, if it’s not a moneymaking site, then the community might collapse over such blatant politics.
Supporters who approved of the anti-Trump administration policy weighed in as you’d expect.
Y'all are making me want to learn how to knit just to support you guys.
— Скалолаз PA-C (@AlpinePA) June 23, 2019
This is a free social networking service for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. Members share projects, ideas, and various components like tools, yarn, and fiber. Isn’t the point of participating in these crafts to relax and tune out everyday hassles? How can politics seeping into the website be so threatening to the administrators that policy must be changed?
Perhaps projects with Trump’s campaign logo were coming into online discussions or forums. Maybe knitters were creating original designs in support of President Trump or his policies and it triggered the narrow-minded leftist members. I can only speculate because I had never even heard of Ravelry before Sunday afternoon. My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was a girl but I didn’t keep up with it. I hope one day to take it up again owing to the fact that my friends who knit talk about the calming effects of the craft. And it’s a productive way to pass time.
Though the site owners make a point to declare that conservatives are not being discriminated against by the new policy, I wonder whether a member of the community would be banned if they began creating and sharing #BlackLivesMatter themed projects. I assume not since the site’s owners have made it clear that their politics don’t include room for different opinions.
This is a large online site. It claims to have over eight million members. It looks like this new policy and public statement is a nod to “diversity and inclusivity” in the knitting world. The knitting community is getting woke, y’all, and they want you to know how inclusive they are, except to conservatives. Why do they not see the hypocrisy in their wokeness?
The Trump ban comes only months after political upheaval gripped the knitting and crochet community around issues of racial and cultural insensitivity. That debate was sparked by popular knitwear designer and blogger Karen Templer, who wrote in January about a planned trip to India, likening it, in her excitement, to visiting Mars. Many in the craft community objected to the characterisation, calling it othering and reductive.
Templer apologised soon afterwards, but the incident had a ripple effect, sparking off conversations about diversity and inclusivity in the craft community on Instagram, Ravelry and other places that crafters congregate online. A similar debate about cultural sensitivity and appropriation recently occurred in the sewing community.
The site is bound to suffer a loss in membership. People craft to get away from thoughts of the outside world. It’s like watching sports — it’s a distraction and politics are not welcome. I haven’t seen my conservative friends who knit stop knitting because liberal women make pink pussy hats to wear at Trump demonstrations.