Me being silly at the Pocahontas Run Like a Girl 4-mile run today.
The event was an awareness and fundraiser for the HERA Foundation, an organization working to fight the devastating effects of ovarian cancer. Follow the links, educate yourself, and make a difference. I’ll be passed out over here on the couch. #tired
A few years ago I became aware of a knitting group out of Austin, Texas called Knitta Please. The group vandalizes public spaces with knitted creations (this act is known as "yarnbombing") under the guise of public art. I have been offended by their name and every aspect of their marketing from the beginning. If you don't know, their name is a play on the racial pejorative "Ni**er" and the phrase "Ni**er, please." The rest of their marketing usurps urban hip-hop culture. Did I say that the founders of this group are young, white women from Texas? Knitta, Please represents cultural appropriation at its finest.
I've shared my views with friends outside of the craft movement, but have always been hesitant to voice my opinions publicly. I now feel the need to put my voice out there to support two intelligent crafty bloggers of color that have recently done so. I could never have put the argument and subsequent call to action out there as eloquently as Alexis of One Grand Home has or expressed my desire for an open dialogue as well as Shannon of Rifferaff/Make It has – so please click the links and go read their posts.
Perhaps the members of Knitta Please are talented knitters. However, there is no reason to bring a terrible legacy of hatred and intolerance into their creative art – which by itself is a daring and fairly compelling endeavor. Their name needlessly stains their creations and actions with the poison of a racial insult.
The group's popularity and lack of public discourse before this week demonstrates an insidious insistance on believing the "post-racial America" myth. Let me clear that up for you: it is not okay to play on the word "Ni**er" because we have a bi-racial president. Our country has a long way to go before race and racial epithets no longer matter.
Imagine them sitting across from a person of color – be it a reporter, a fellow artist, or a member of the general public – and explaining their name. Perhaps they are so gangsta' that it wouldn't be a problem to tell a black person "it's a play on the phrase "Ni**er, please," because we think it's cool." For me, those are still fighting words.