You can’t be inclusive if you are leaving people out

This was going to be a blog post sharing my favourite resources so far around the Black Lives Matter movement, but the problems that have been coming up due to accessibility issues with the new Ravelry site has got me thinking more broadly about inclusion and diversity this week.

The knitting community has been discussing anti-racism, inclusion and diversity for a year and a half now, and while some changes have been made, these past few weeks have shown that we still have a long way to go. When I was made aware of my white privilege 18 months ago, I was also suddenly overwhelmed by all of the other privilege cards that I hold, but had never really considered before. The task suddenly seemed insurmountable. Because if I needed to educate myself in one area, it would stand to reason that I would need to educate myself in those other areas too. Wouldn’t it?

After the initial guilt had run it’s course, I continued with my anti-racism work as the door had been opened and I knew I couldn’t close it again. While I may not have been addressing my other privileges directly, last week I discovered that I hadn’t forgotten them either. I realised that the terms that I have learned such as silence, tone policing, gaslighting, fragility and exceptionalism aren’t exclusive, and can be used in their own way against any marginalised group, whether I mean to or not.

Being an inclusive person, community or business means being inclusive of everyone, not just the groups you feel a part of or empathy for. Ravelry for example has been very vocal on their stance on Black Lives Matter and LGBTQIA+ rights, but their current stance of standing by the new look site that it is affecting the lives of those with disabilities or are neurodivergent, is in stark contrast to their social media bio of an ‘inclusive, friendly website’.

Because people don’t just fit neatly in to one box and to be truly inclusive of someone you must acknowledge and respect all the boxes that they fit in to. I know that people make mistakes. I know I have and that I will no doubt continue to make some along the way. The problem is not so much the mistake itself, but how you handle that mistake and learn from it going forward. Owning it and apologising is hard, but will often go a long way in the eyes of the person you have hurt.

As with all headline news, once the initial emotions start to subside and the flood of social media posts begins to ebb, it is important for those of us who don’t suffer on a daily basis to remember that just because it isn’t being put right under our nose any more, doesn’t mean that these issues no longer exist. We must keep learning and striving to improve the world for those who don’t have the same privileges as us.

As Ravelry is inaccessible for some right now, and I’m not happy with how they have dealt with the launch of the new look, I now have all my patterns listed on the website using Payhip. You will still receive a standard and low-vision version, and should any errata come up I will list them on my design page. As always if there is anything that I can do to make my designs more accessible for you, don’t hesitate to let me know. I will be leaving my patterns on Ravelry because it is currently my most used revenue stream and as a very small business I can’t afford to remove it yet, but I shan’t be adding any future patterns or directing people to Ravelry.

I will still be writing a blog post on the anti-racism resources that I have found beneficial soon, but in the meantime I have saved everything as highlights over on Instagram.

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