The discussions centering on racism and inclusion within the knitting and crochet community in 2019 meant that many of us took a necessary pause to reflect on the important matters at hand, to learn, and to make changes. The murder of George Floyd on 25th May 2020 and the prominence of the #blacklivesmatter movement surrounding his death has once again highlighted the very real effects racial prejudice has on the lives of BIPOC. We wanted to collate and share some of the resources which the Pom team have found helpful in the hope that they’re of use to others.
Instead of progressing a few more centimeters on your WIP, why not put down your needles and access some of the links or suggested reading material below? We’ve put together a list of ways you can practice anti-racism, ranging from donating to initiatives which need financial support, to how to offer non-financial aid, to how to effect long term change. We encourage you to follow the links in this page, or to download it as a document here and tick off these suggestions as you access them (but don’t stop when you get to the end, add your own)! This page is by no means exhaustive, so if this is the start of your anti-racism journey, then we urge you to think of these suggestions as a springboard to help you on your way.
Long Term Change
After the news cycles have finished their revolution and the black squares are making their way down everyone’s grid never to be scrolled past again, the fight against racism must continue. Here are a few ways in which you can take responsibility and continue the work.
The education system in the UK and the US has failed People of Colour, from neglecting to mention their roles in slavery and colonisation to prioritising white authored literature. There’s a wealth of online and print resources with which you can learn about these topics, along with different forms of racism, and ways in which you can help combat inequality on a personal scale and beyond. Talking to People of Colour about issues relating to race often demands a huge amount of emotional labour on their part. Therefore, do not ask BIPOC to educate you, and if you access a resource then pay the creator(s) for their anti-racism work if there’s an option to.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2017) by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Based on a blog post Reni Eddo-Lodge published in 2014, this book discusses the history of racism in Britain, and the other facets of identity which intersect with race, such as gender and class.
Taking Up Space: A Black Girl’s Manifesto For Change (2019) by Chelsea Kwakye and Ọrẹ Ogunbiyi
Drawing on their personal experiences and the stories of other Black women, Chelsea Kwakye and Ọrẹ Ogunbiyi discuss the barriers Black people face both to and within the UK’s higher education system. To Black women they offer advice in navigating the university experience and space, to a white reader they offer an awareness of what that same experience looks like when you’re a person of colour.
So You Want to Talk About Race (2018) by Ijeoma Olou
Each chapter centres on a topic relating to race and racism, such as police brutality, privilege, the BLM movement, and many more.
How to be an Anti-Racist (2019) by Ibram X. Kendi
A valuable education on the real history of racism in the United States and how it still survives to this day. On the author’s website is a downloadable discussion guide for book clubs (or among a circle of friends).
Me and White Supremacy (2020) by Layla F. Saad
Galvanised by the popularity of her #meandwhitesupremacy challenge on Instagram, Layla F. Saad published a book of the same name. Her publication is a workbook which teaches its white reader how to recognise their own privilege and challenge it.
The Good Immigrant (2016) edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
This edited collection questions why People of Colour in the UK only become ‘good immigrants’ when they achieve something outstanding, such as winning a world title. The book consists of 21 stories which explore what it means and feels like to be Other within the UK.
Gal Dem – an online and print publication committed to sharing perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour.
The Good Journal – four-part journal showcasing the work of writers and illustrators of colour.
Ditto Kids Magazine – a publication aimed at children, dedicated to helping them be actively anti-racist.
75 Things White People can do for Racial Injustice, by Corrine Shutack
Three Black Women Tell Us How to Support the #blacklivesmatter movement that goes beyond posting an image on Instagram, by Dr Ateh Jewel, Stephanie Yeboah, and Nyome Nicholas-Williams
How To Ally, by @wastefreemarie
About a Pink Sweater, by Sophie Cai
Learning and Unlearning: an interview with Emi Ito on cultural appropriation, by Pom Pom Quarterly
‘Guidelines for Identifying and Monitoring Antisemitism Online and Offline’, by A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe
‘Working Definitions and Charters’, by International Holocaust Rememberence Alliance
Consider Your Vocabulary
Words are so important. You may not know it, but a word which is part of your everyday vocabulary could be harmful to others. This can be because it contributes to a discourse which is harmful to a marginalised group of people, or because it perpetuates a power dynamic you didn’t intend, or, if a word is borrowed from a marginalised culture, maybe you’re inadvertently participating in cultural appropriation. Sometimes, it’s just as important to understand the history of the term you’re using as it is to consider your usage of it! This is a constant process of unlearning and relearning; a process which the Pom team are still undertaking, too. Here are some of the terms we’ve started using, or, just as vitally, stopped using, and resources which are helping us on our journey. This is not exhaustive and we’ll continue to add to this as we learn.
Indigenous – we use this word instead of ‘Native’ or ‘Aboriginal’ to describe a group of people who’ve lived in a country before it was colonised and inhabited by white settlers. Please keep in mind that ‘Indigenous’ is a general term, should always be capitalised to show respect, and it’s always best to be as specific as possible (for example, some Indigenous people in North America identify as ‘Indian’).
Here are some articles we’ve found to be informative on this terminology:
‘What’s in a name: Indian, Native, Aboriginal or Indigenous’, by the CBC
‘Indigenous Peoples Terminology Guidelines for Usage’, by Indigenous Corporate Training
Kimono – a piece of traditional Japanese clothing. It’s a loose robe-style garment, usually with square sleeves, which is tied at the waist. To describe a loose robe outside of a Japanese cultural context, here are some suggestions of alternative terms: cover-up, wrap, duster, & Haori jacket. (see Emi Ito’s interview on our blog for an explanation of the latter term.)
Poncho – a term taken from an Indigenous South American language and refers to a rectangular item of clothing, usually made from woolen fabric. Suggested alternative: cape.
Raglan – a term with its origin in military-inspired fashion. Lord Raglan lost his right arm in battle and his tailor developed the idea of a diagonal sleeve to allow greater movement and make it easier for him to dress himself unassisted. Today, we feel Lord Raglan epitomises everything that’s wrong with empire and his actions are so against Pom Pom’s values that we considered using a different name entirely for our raglan sweater collection. The conclusion we came to is that raglan is the term most people recognise. If we renamed this style of sleeve, would people understand us? And would we erase a history that needed wider acknowledgement?
The Pom Team’s Fave Books by Authors of Colour
A Small Place (1988) by Jamaica Kincaid
Americanah (2013) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Afropean: Notes from a Black Europe (2019) by Johny Pitts
Hunger (2017) by Roxane Gay
All About Love (2000) by bell hooks
The Bluest Eye (1970) by Toni Morrison
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) by Zora Neale Hurston
Girl, Woman, Other (2019) by Bernardine Evaristo
Beyond the Gender Binary (2020) by Alok Vaid-Menon
Blindspotting (2018), directed by Colin López Estrada
The film’s protagonist, Collin, is a Black man who witnesses another Black man being fatally shot by a white police officer, and the PTSD he experiences from seeing the crime. Although this film was released a few years ago, the messages (often delivered in rap) about police brutality against Black people in the US feels very relevant today.
Why the Jews: History of Antisemitism, by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This 13 minute video offers a history of antisemitism within Europe and Christianity. It reveals the many ways in which Jewish people have been marginalised over the centuries. A full transcript of the video is provided by the museum on the same web page, and the video is equipped with subtitles.
Explaining Holocaust Denial, by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This video explains why Shoah/holocaust denial is a form of anti-semitism, and the difference between hard-core and soft-core denial. CW: contains some distressing images and footage.
Follow Educational Instagram Accounts
It goes without saying that all the charities, authors, and publications we reference in this document are worth following if they have Instagram accounts, but here are a few bonus recommendations:
@brownhistory – this account posts personal anecdotes from people who identify as South Asian or of South Asian descent and reminds their followers of important (and often not talked about) historical moments in South Asian history.
@blackgirlknitclub – a community of black women and women of colour based in London. They host workshops on colonialism and West African textile history, and post a number of tutorials for skill such as hand knitting.
@thegreatunlearn – a monthly syllabus curated by Rachel Cargle, dedicated to unlearning that which is presented as factual and objective in American history books.
@booksfordiversity – a great resource for children’s stories which represent cultures and people from all over the world.
@antiracismdaily – frequently shares infographics about contemporary issues faced by racial minorities and how you can help.
Buy from PoC-Owned Businesses
BIPOC in Fiber have put together a directory of – you guessed it – BIPOC in fiber, including authors, dyers, and designers. When you’re planning your next project, why not check out this directory first?
Please note that if you’re going to use any of the templates below, we recommend that you re-word them slightly, as emails which have been copied and pasted can often be automatically sorted into the recipient’s spam folder.
Template for holding your employer accountable for racial injustice, by Rachel Cargle
Template for holding your academic institution accountable for racial injustice, by Brittany Williams and Samantha Rushworth
Check out a brand’s feed before you buy from them. Can you see many (or any!) black or brown faces? If not many, maybe question whether their black square was a shallow marketing strategy to keep themselves relevant.
Sign up to Anti-Racism Daily’s newsletter. Each day they send out a newsletter with a small task for you to complete which will help you on your anti-racism journey. Make their task part of your daily routine.
As many of you know, our two PPHQs are located in London and Austin. June 19th is an important day in Texan history. On this day in 1865, the last enslaved people in the US were informed of their freedom, two and a half years after emancipation was supposed to have been enacted and enforced. In other words, it represents the date on which enslaved people in the southern states found out they were supposed to have been free over two years earlier. It is a day for celebration, but also for reverence and action.
Author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson reads Juneteenth but replaces the word ‘slave’ with ‘enslaved person’, via @theconsiouskid.
‘Juneteenth: The Black Independence Day You Never Learned About in School’, by @kahlil.greene.
Sign the petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday in the US, via Black Lives Matter.
At present, Juneteenth is not a national holiday in the US, so ask your employer to give 19th June as a company holiday, or at the very least a paid holiday day for Black employees.
Offering Emotional Support
Not everyone is in a position to offer financial support to anti-racism initiatives. Here are a few ways in which you can show solidarity through anti-racist activity.
The police officers who shot Breonna Taylor are still walking free. Take action and demand justice for Breonna.
Listen to Media by BIPOC creators
Zoe Amira has created a video of art by Black creators. 100% of the ad revenue generated from the video will be donated towards a BLM-related charity, depending on which cause has the greatest need at the time of donation.
Show Up for your BIPOC Friends
Supporting Black Friends During This Time, by Good Night Out Campaign
How To Talk To Your Family About Racism, by @jenerous
Talking to Kids About Racial Stereotypes, by Media Smarts
Talking to Kids About Discrimination, by the American Psychological Association
Why Reverse Racism Doesn’t Exist, by @chnge
A Template of Responses to Racist Comments, by @shityoushouldcareabout
Black Lives Matter
#blacklivesmatter was founded in 2010 after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. This global organisation seeks to eradicate white supremacy by combating acts of violence inflicted on Black communities and creating space for Black joy and imagination. Their website is full of resources, important petitions, and videos to keep you up to date with contemporary issues black communities are facing.
Offering Financial Support
There are so many organisations out there doing fantastic, meaningful, and necessary ant-racist work. One way you can show support is to donate to them, if you’re able.
The Loveland Foundation
This foundation is committed to showing up for communities of colour, with a particular focus on Black women and girls, and mental health. They seek to empower and liberate the communities they support.
Jacob Blake’s Donation Page
Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back in front of three of his children. His family are accepting donations to help pay for Jacob’s medical expenses, and grief counselling for the family.
The Color of Change
They lead campaigns that build real power for Black communities, challenge injustice and hold corporations and political leaders accountable, and conduct vital research into systemic inequality.
Working towards a society without police violence, Campaign Zero offers 10 policy solutions and a large amount of information on issues such as broken windows policing, fair police union contracts, and demilitarisation.
The National Black Justice Coalition
NBJC is a civil rights organisation dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQA/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDs. Their mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQA/SGL bias and stigma by focussing on federal policy.
The Movement for Black Lives
The movement is made up of hundreds of organisations that coordinate actions, messages and campaigns. They support Black-led rapid response efforts and long-term strategy, policy, and infrastructure investments in the movement ecosystem.
National Bail Out
A Black-led and Black-centred organisation working to build community-based support for Black people and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.
Austin Justice Coalition
The Austin Justice Coalition (AJC) serves people who are historically and systematically impacted by gentrification, segregation, over policing, a lack of educational and employment opportunities, and other institutional forms of racism in Austin, Texas.
We Love Lake Street
Lake Street Council will donate all funds received to helping rebuild Lake Street (the site of the riots in Minneapolis), starting with small, independent businesses and nonprofits.
Resourcing Racial Justice
They are committed to establishing a UK-wide fund to assist individuals and other organisations who are working towards racial justice. At present, their funds are being directed towards initiatives which help redress the disproportionate amount of PoC affected by COVID-19.
BME Cancer Communities
BMECC organise and host awareness events of the most common cancers affecting BME communities and develop specific BME cancer resources.
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
Founded after the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, the charitable trust supports young people (13-30) from disadvantaged backgrounds by helping them strive for ambitious careers, and they ensure businesses are inclusive of diverse talent.
SARI (Stand up Against Racism and Inequality)
SARI provides support for victims of any type of hate crime, including racism, faith-based, disablist, homophobic, transphobic, age-based or gender-based.
Stop Hate UK
A national organisation working to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination. One of the many services they provide is helplines specific to which form of hate crime you’ve been a victim of.
Show Racism the Red Card
An educational anti-racism organisation, who provide workshops, resources, and training sessions with the purpose of tackling racism in UK society.
A charity which seeks to challenge racial inequality in Britain by researching and intervening in policy making and practice, and engaging with decision makers.
The Black Curriculum
They describe themselves as a “social enterprise working to teach and support the teaching of black history all year round” both inside and outside schools. They deliver programmes, provide teacher training, and mobilise young people to facilitate social change.