Tolerance is for Tuna Sandwiches

Ravelry’s recent policy change is making headlines

Yesterday, one of the yarn and fiber world’s biggest names took a strong stance against white supremacy. Ravelry, a well-known pattern resource, info hub, and social forum for us fiber folx, declared a new policy banning support of Donald Trump on their website. The full declaration, which you can read here, goes into the reasons and gives specific details about what this policy change will mean for those who choose to use their site.

It’s pretty standard, really. A private organization makes a policy change, makes the rules clear, and moves on. As is also sadly standard, there is much backlash and brouhaha today. The fiber arts community has a particular brand of drama, and Ravelry’s recent decision about how to do things on their own website seems to poke right into the squishiest parts of it.

I could say things about that, but XKCD said it better a long time ago:

No, what I want to say here is specific to the calls for “tolerance” that I’m seeing posted in response to this policy. There seems to be a cry for “tolerance” of Trump, Trump’s policies, and Trump’s allies and supporters. Now, just writing that last sentence, I saw the problem, but maybe it’s not as obvious as it seems to me. So let’s spell it out: what you tolerate, you condone. What you don’t openly oppose, you tacitly endorse.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Tolerance is for tuna sandwiches, specifically for those who eat them in enclosed, shared spaces like offices or airplanes. Tolerance is for people who put/don’t put pineapple on their pizza. Tolerance is for those who put the TP over/under on the holder. Tolerance is for typos. Tolerance is for people driving slow in the passing lane. Tolerance is for socks with sandals. Tolerance is for honest mistakes accompanied by a good faith effort to apologize and do better, complete with action. Tolerance is for people who like and do things you don’t, and it only extends to a point: Tolerance is extended up to the point where it causes harm to another.

Someone’s preference for bamboo knitting needles over metal, or the inverse, is highly unlikely to ever cause someone actual harm (though this, too, has been the topic of many a Ravelry kerfuffle). A policy that actively separates children from their families and detains them unlawfully in inhumane conditions is a whole separate level of problem that cannot, MUST not be overlooked or tolerated. Someone whose policies actively denigrate, diminish, and threaten to destroy whole communities and groups of people is NOT someone to be tolerated. The policies of the Trump administration, and Trump himself, should be actively opposed by anyone with a conscience who believes in human dignity and basic decency.

That this is even a conversation we need to have is an embarrassment.

To tolerate policies that clearly violate human rights is to actively endorse those policies. Making space for those who actively endorse those policies to have equal airtime for their position is the same as saying “we are okay with this, and we welcome it here”. With their recent policy update, Ravelry has made it very clear that they don’t endorse, support, or tolerate Trump’s abusive madness.

In case it wasn’t well-known already: neither do I.

Shot of the floor at Newseum’s Berlin Wall exhibit

There’s a separate post to be made about the calls to separate the art/craft from the politics, and who that stance would harm/benefit, but it’s going to have to wait for another day because I’m out of spoons. As a placeholder, I’ll leave this image from the Newseum’s Berlin Wall exhibit, which was haunting.