• What Can Be Done?

    Painting: José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior via Wikimedia Commons

    Note: I am not encouraging attacking, boycotting, or harassing anyone I talk about in this post. I know what this can do to one's mental health, and I do not wish it on anyone. If you have been the target of an online attack and are suffering mentally, please know you are not alone, and seek professional help if you are considering physically harming yourself. Feel free to contact me if you just need someone to talk to. 

    I recently received an email from someone asking if there was anything that could be done to help those who have been the target of an online attack. This was specific to the knitting community, but I think it could apply to anyone in any community. Here was my reply:

    I have been thinking about this a lot during the last few months. Really, what I wish more people would do is just stop being so damn scared to voice their opinions. Only those on the far left have a voice. And the rest of us have collaborated with, befriended, and listened to them for years without argument. I have enjoyed being friends with many of them. I even had dinner with a group of some of the most vocal ones last year at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and even though I was quite ill at the time and not feeling myself, I still had a wonderful time and was so grateful I had a chance to meet them in person and listen to their stories. These same people have now publicly called me a racist, white supremacist, neo-nazi, far-right sympathizer -- the full gamut of pop-insults that are invading the online world and trying to silence anyone with a different opinion. I would never attack them in the way they have attacked me. We who have thoughtfully disagreed with the popular post-modern ideologies are the tolerant ones, and I'd argue, the truly liberal ones. I see very little liberalism coming from the left. I wish more people would just use their brains and their own voices when something doesn't seem right. At the beginning, I received messages from so many people who thought things had gotten out of hand and the "conversation" was just stirring up hate and causing division, but they were too scared of the supposed "tolerant"  ones to say anything about it. And eventually many were taken over to their side, put in the corner, given their complementary copy of Me and White Supremacy, and left to soak in a bath of white guilt.
    People are cowards. I know they have families, jobs, businesses, reputations. But I'm sick of their cowardice. My parents took risks and spoke their minds. They left jobs, social circles etc, for stating the truth when they saw an issue. They taught us not to be afraid of anyone, and that you can always pull yourself back up and start over. They taught us to stand up for what we believed to be be true. They taught us to uncover falsehoods, so that they would stop happening. Corruption is practically inevitable. And we can't just stand by and let it continue to feed off the people. The knitting community is corrupted. These “social-justice” warriors and "guilty" whites are trying to profit off of hatred. Buy a coffee for their emotional labor. It's hard work to be so full of hate day in and day out. 
    If only a fraction of my supporters would use their own platforms to stand up to these people in a civilized manner, they wouldn't have so much power. Their wouldn't be so much fear to disagree. Your business or reputation wouldn't be destroyed simply because you believe there might be another answer.  The "community" might see that we're not a bunch of racists or white supremacists (but, according to their bible, all whites are white supremacists, so what does it matter?). 
    I would also love to see more blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other individuals stand up to this. I know they don't all walk in lock-step with the leftists. I am not going to refer to them as BIPoC because I find this racist. How is saying "PoC" not racist, but saying "colored person" is? Let's stop labeling everyone based on the levels of melanin in their skin. And, let's stop putting them into homogeneous groups and assuming they agree with each other. Everyone is an individual, and has their own unique ancestry. We are all people of color. 
    I do hope that more people from different ethnic groups join in knitting. But I'd sure hate to be one right now and have people following me and getting their picture with me at yarn festivals just to get more virtue points for their online profiles. I've never even paid attention to what the color of another's knitter's skin is. Of course I see color, but it's just a color and a nuance of being human. I also notice if someone has flaming red hair, a big bushy beard, a hearty laugh, a wide smile, a bright sweater, or any other interesting trait. 
    Anyway, I just wish more people would publicly stand up to this in their own ways, and not just in comment sections. I've heard from so many wonderful, well-educated, and diverse (😱) people. But most of it is under the radar. My sympathy is starting to run out. But I would never do what the far leftists have done and force people to speak up. I would never tell anyone that their silence is a crime. I would never say such trollish things as "I SEE YOU". I do understand, personally, what it's like to have your reputation dragged through the mud. I wish this on no one. So, I'm left with no real solution except to tell people this:
    Examine yourself and do what you believe to be good and right. Do it whether your peers agree with you or not. Don't sacrifice your current safety or comfort for a future of death and lies. Don't let your neighbors be hauled off to camps and stand by silently, believing they won't eventually come to get you as well. And you think this couldn't happen again? You think humans have reached such wonderful heights of enlightenment that we could never have another holocaust? Look at social media. Look at the suicide rates in teens. Look at how person after person is being de-platformed for having a different opinion. Look at how the knitting community has joined together in hate towards a single person trying to do what she believes is right. Look at how very few cared about that person's safety or mental health. People who were her friends, neighbors, colleagues. The only supporters showing it in private. And if you did comment or support that person... oh, they were after you! Even calling your bosses and telling them you should be fired for being such a racist (yes, this happened to some people who supported me). If I had committed suicide, what then? Would they all have been rejoicing? Thank god I'm mentally stable and have a loving boyfriend. Thank god, I have an inbox full of supportive emails. Every single one meant so much to me and kept me from sinking into despair. I'm not a victim.
    Heaven forbid you're on their side and you disagree with a single thing they say. They're searching for their next target. You better not step out of line or be the first to stop applauding them. You better clap until your hands bleed.
    Find a creative way to fight back and fight for goodness and truth. The truth will reveal itself... and it will win in the end.
  • Comments on this post (31 comments)

    • Maria says...

      What the heck did Knitter’s Pride do wrong?! I love their Karbonz needles and will purchase some more on-line.

      Have been at home sick today (too sick to knit) and have checked out some of the on-line commentary. Some of the interpretations are simply bizarre. One person with “lady” in their instagram name was wondering if one commenter who called her “Lady” was calling her a b*tch because Lady is the name of a dog. (what ?!)

      And there is a making things app that is under fire for being racist.

      April 28, 2019

    • Trisha says...

      Maria, what happened to the video you had up this morning? I was waiting for a quiet few minutes to watch it, when I tried to watch it it was gone. Bummer I was so looking forward to it.

      They’re eating their own now. Say one wrong word and the swarm is on them. Hopefully they’ll stop their crazy control issues, sooner hopefully rather than later.

      Love you Maria!

      April 27, 2019

    • Elizabeth says...

      So, I am here because you put up a harmless video yesterday and I see that it’s gone. I can only imagine what happened.

      I am one of the people you are speaking of in this post. Yes, I want to blast these authoritarian Thought-Nazis. Yes, I am afraid. I work for a very large healthcare company, have a healthcare license I have to protect, I have young children.

      To those reading these posts to dig up dirt on “racists” I would ask them if the change they are trying to create feels good when it comes at the expense of destroying someone’s life. Not just their livelihood. Life. You are willfully and obediently taking a life when you target, shame and harass. You have changed no hearts or minds. Not one. You check in like the gestapo to see if the target is still obeying commands. I feel pity for you. Your life has become the hate you profess to abhor.

      There is a book I have recommended often. It’s called “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman” by Phyllis Chesler. Someone pointed out, this movement is often about eliminating a competitor. They hit the nail on the head. It’s a vicious, vile…but effective tactic. It’s ugly.

      I remember as a child watching a news broadcast, back when news was news, not opinion. They were in Communist China following a group speaking out against the government. A speaker was addressing a crowd denouncing the cruelty inflicted on the people.. Planted in the crowd were individuals paid by the government to shout these people down. They ridiculed, slobbered, denounced, shamed the speaker. What I remember about the whole thing: the bystanders. They stood wide-eyed in fear. Frozen. They were on camera. The outcome for them was not going to be good either way. They were silent. They did not take a side. Undoubtedly they were re-educated, possibly beaten, or worse.

      It is time to take a stand. You are not a racist. Even if they pepper your feed with ‘proof’. You are not. This has to stop. They know being called a racist is as insulting as being called a child molester. They are capitalizing on it. It’s slander. It’s evil. And to the designers and dyers who have been complicit, I hope you are at peace. You will be the next target. It’s not if, it’s when. When you are next and begging for help, remember who trampled you and whom you trampled upon.

      April 27, 2019

    • Theresa says...

      Dear Maria,
      Your thoughts on this matter are like a cold drink of water to a person weak from thirst. I naively reached for the SJW Kool-Aid after the Karen Templer debacle thinking I definitely had more to learn about racism. I made a donation and downloaded the “White Supremacy & Me” self-help book. Then I saw the horrendous assault on you and later how the SJWs mass attacked Knitter’s Pride (a BIPOC company, based in India no less!) after a whining SJW comment was deleted on their blog for being off-topic during a social media contest. The hypocrisy of their “tolerance” has not failed to astound me with each passing week.
      To be honest, I typically watch IG now just to see who I will no longer patronize with my hard earned money. Funny how that works both ways, huh?
      I’m just an old hippie liberal, but can see that the nonsense of the SJWs has, at least in part, fueled the backlash against radical liberalism and probably helped Trump get elected.
      For an unabashed look at SJWs, I recommend watching Youtuber Awaken with JP’s take on “Being a Social Justice Warrior.”
      Peace & Blessings upon you, Maria!!

      April 24, 2019

    • Maria says...

      Glad to see so many supportive comments here. I agree with every one of them – they give me hope. There is no discussion allowed on other people’s posts. I recall that some people were treated very rudely because they were just asking how all this got started. They were told to “do the necessary work” and to “educate” themselves. This is a general directive to all of us but I truly resent being told to “educate myself” and to “do the work” by someone who knows nothing about me!

      Also glad to see that your yarn sold out in a hurry Maria, even though by the time I got to your website all that gorgeous yellow fluffy mohair was sold out. (Please make more.) However, I bought some woolly goodness from Kate Davies. And I will continue to support people who refuse to be bullied in this bizarre version of “inclusion”.

      Happy knitting.

      April 24, 2019

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