Thanks to @daisyjanie for pointing me to this article on the group Knitta, Please and issuses of race in the craft world. I want to briefly touch on the Knitta, Please issue but I also want to take this opportunity to open up a dialogue about the lack of diversity in the craft and design world, issues I've covered on this blog several times.
Knitta, Please is a group that creates knitted graffiti, putting wool cozies on public property . Their name is a play on the phrase "n-gga please." Depending on your point of view, you either find this clever and harmless, or cringeworthy and offensive. Consider me in the latter category. It's not that I think the members of Knitta, Please are raging racists, but it's that everytime I hear or see or read this term, I can't separate the cutesy name from the phrase from which it originates. It makes me uncomfortable to see blogs I otherwise enjoy using this term as a cutesy pun. (ex. "Where my knitta's at," really, Apartment Therapy?) I even commented on this in a March 2009 story about KP on the Storque. Visit the link, then scroll down to see what I said. Then continue scrolling and see how many others expressed the same sentiment as me. One, two other people out of 121 comments had an issue with the name.
Which brings me to my second point, the elephant in the room: The craft and design world is overwhelmingly white.
What does it matter? Obama's president, Oprah's one of the most powerful and richest women in the country. We're a post-racial society right? Well...that depends on who and what you are. Race is an incredibly personal and inflammatory issue, and for me it does matter. Even though, as a black crafter, I am hyper aware of being "the only one" at most meetups or craft fairs I don't really broach that issue here too much because frankly, up until a few months ago, this blog was an extension of my business and I didn't want to put off any potential customers.
One step I did take towards making a commentary on the lack of color in the craft world was putting my picture on the home page of this blog. I would be perfectly content to be behind the scenes, and not show my face. I rarely post my own picture in posts. But I think it's important for me to be visible, simply because by my face being here, maybe someone will visit my blog and think, "Oh, I'm not the only one." Because there will be no shortage of things to get enraged about. Now that I'm working on a book and hoping to one day be published, I've now got covers of Publisher's Weekly to be offended by. So maybe that's the best thing that crafters/designers/writers/creators of color can do: be visible.
Are you offended by Knitta, Please?(Image credit)