Josi (O-Josi-O) (eris_devotee) wrote in a_twistedstitch,
Josi (O-Josi-O)
eris_devotee
a_twistedstitch

x-posted to my personal journal

If someone vocalized that she had a problem with a US-based crochet magazine publishing the pattern of a non-US based designer - what would you think?

Would your feelings about the complaint/complainer be different if the exception was about a magazine including a gay or lesbian designer? a Muslim designer?

What if it was a UK-based magazine and the complaint was about including US designers?
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I'd have no problem with the designer's nationality (or other status), so long as the terminology of the pattern was consistent with the rest of the magazine (US terminology for a US magazine, UK for UK).

I own a few Brit-published crochet patterns, and while I can translate them, I know when I pick up that book that the patterns need work. Inconsistency within the same publication would be, imho, very confusing.
I would agree with this.
I don't know whether I would be uncomfortable with a US-based magazine publishing the pattern of a non-US based designer -- it would depend on a whole lot more specific details of the situation.

But I do know for sure that I am uncomfortable comparing categories of identity / discrimination as if they are interchangeable.
I don't know whether I would be uncomfortable with a US-based magazine publishing the pattern of a non-US based designer -- it would depend on a whole lot more specific details of the situation.

What other information would be pertinent? The point of my questions was that the *only* criteria upon which a criticism is issued is based on the national origins of the designer. And then I asked how someone's feelings might change if the same exception was taken, but over similarly arbitrary (meaning: unrelated to their ability to write a pattern) aspects of a person.

But I do know for sure that I am uncomfortable comparing categories of identity / discrimination as if they are interchangeable.

Why? I always use the "substitution test" when I evaluate for bigotry/arbitrary discrimination, because sometimes it is the only way to reveal the underlying nature of a comment to those who do not otherwise notice it. It can show when someone has marginalized any group of people based on criteria that doesn't relate to the criticism.

Some of the other pertinent information might be ... how prevalent are US-only/US-focused/US-based magazines in this subject area? Was the magazine created specifically for the purpose of creating a place that U.S. patterns could be published? What is the experience of U.S. pattern writers in trying to get published outside the U.S.?

Your "substitution test" implies that all discrimination is interchangeable, and trivializes the oppression experienced by gay people and Muslims. Whether a person gets a pattern into a magazine is not in any way comparable to the types of violent hatred visited upon the heads and bodies and lives of gay and lesbian people and Muslim persons.

But bringing those types of discrimination in is a way of co-opting the life-threatening seriousness of heterosexism and racism. We all know -- because of decades of men and women risking their lives -- about the struggles endured by gay and lesbian persons just to live their lives without being physically attacked. We all know about the spike in violent anti-Muslim discrimination since September 11. And if the experiences of heterosexism and racism were limited to whether a pattern got published in a magazine, they wouldn't carry very much rhetorical weight.

I was comparing discrimination based on country of origin to other arbitrary discrimination, and the getting-published-in-a-crochet-magazine aspect is incidental - it could be *any* paying job that someone was criticized for taking based solely on where they were born. Why isn't that something of note to you?

Are you dismissing the realities of my Irish and Italian grandparents, who were not considered white? When my grandfather got a job in the plumber's union he was repeatedly asked "who did you marry?" because SURELY no one had lost their fool mind enough to hire a freakin WOP.

A pattern getting published is a JOB, and should be considered on par with being in the military, or getting hired as a teacher, and I think it shows your own prejudices that you choose to marginalize my career.

Why do you need to make comparisons at all? Why can't you make the case for the wrongness of this incident of discrimination on its own merits?
Exactly what I am trying to explore in other people (the hows whys whats) is what you seem to have a problem with me pointing out -

Discrimination based on country of origin, in many locations, has a positive connotation of patriotism and therefore isn't seen as an issue of *arbitrary* discrimination. It doesn't matter if someone is the best or most qualified person for a given job if they are foreign-born or foreign-residing.

The reasons for this post have their origins in a Ravelry thread where people were quite blatant and forthright about their nationalism, and no one understood how unwelcoming, exclusive and arbitrarily discriminatory they were being *until* I offered the substitution test... until I pointed that singling out and excluding a group of capable people is wrong, but they needed that parallel in order to see their brand of nationalism as well... basically telling the designers whose patterns were published and are currently trying to support their need for assistance - you aren't good enough OR welcome. They are public forums after all, and the reasons designers frequent them is to make their products better and to help people who have problems.

I'm an academic at heart, so I like to draw parallels - I find them useful, in the same way that metaphor is useful, as an illustrative aid. Not all people learn or think in the same way, and personally I am always more interested in a topic when the language is impassioned.

I've addressed all of your questions all along, but you've yet to give even enough validity to mine to answer even one. I'm sorry you converse that way and as this has been one-sided except for your criticisms (for which I've asked for explanations/justifications). I am actually not a fan of talking to myself, so unless you have something meaningful to add - I'm done talking to myself through you.

Why did you feel the need to hide the true nature of the particulars of this question? In your blog, you reveal that the real situation was a UK-based magazine, with someone objecting to publishing US pattern writers in that magazine.

This implies to me that you thought you would garner more sympathy, more support, with the situation effectively reversed. Which to me implies that at some level you understand the legitimate reasons for the person's original objection, but you wanted to frame your ... "inquiry" in such a way as to eliminate those reasons.

Is it possible that as a self-described "academic at heart" you are unaware of the effects of globalization? Is it even remotely plausible that you do not know that U.S. culture is invading every corner of the globe in ways that wipe out local content/culture?

I am very sorry that you got away with this tactic in the Ravelry thread. I truly wish there had been someone in that conversation to call you on the blatant exercise of blind privilege you're demonstrating here.

Not all discrimination is equal or interchangeable. Your assertions here that it is -- and most especially the invocation of the experience of your Irish/Italian grandparents -- demonstrate that you have almost zero understanding of the differences between discrimination and oppression.

When I first responded I had hoped that you understood the difference and might be open to a small nudge to remind you not to do what you were doing. But I don't think it is productive for me to try to help you understand. All I can suggest is lots and lots of reading. Since you mentioned gay and lesbian people, you could start with Marilyn Frye.
I am trying to discuss something in an isolated way. If I was trying to hide anything, I wouldn't so readily own it in comments. You keep fishing, but nothing is biting (uh oh, there's a metaphor - will that get me into trouble with you, too?).

I do understand globalization, but that doesn't mean I have to take a hardcore liberal stand on its effects. I am a laissez faire libertarian who believes in the merits of caveat emptor and has ultimate faith in the ingenuity of humanity. I don't think compassion needs to be legislated and I think borders are lines in the sand drawn by men I probably wouldn't like OR respect. (since you decided to paint me another way simply because I don't agree with you - you show yourself to be more and more limited-of-view with every comment you make - because obviously I would agree with you if I knew anything is a fair summary of your above comment).

Well, the problem with trying to discuss things in an isolated way is that discrimination happens in an isolated way but oppression doesn't. That Marilyn Frye essay lays things out pretty succinctly and powerfully.

How hard is this, really?

I am sure it sucked, and your feelings were hurt, when people criticized the magazine that paid you for your patterns for publishing you. But you were paid, and the magazine did publish you. And even if they hadn't? Being U.S.-born is not something that is going to keep you from getting published at another magazine, much less keep you from having and/or reduce your economic opportunities in every single other sphere of endeavor you might try.

But continuing to pretend that this is even debatable is only playing into our shared white culture of intellectualizing everything into meaninglessness, and is getting you very close to Bingo, so I'll stop now.
To take it one step further - the one place where globalization aids ALL THE WOMENFOLK WHO PARTICIPATE is the exchange of our knowledge by swapping skillsets.

That my sweater pattern, recently featured in a UK-based magazine, is currently being stitched by a girl in Australia with Russian heritage (a true statement, as she is also someone I've met in person while she attended a conference in Chicago)... that only helps out everyone who wants to make their own clothing. I'm sharing *knowledge*. Techniques. Information. Like a textbook. If ANY category deserves some sort of protected status to ensure an exchange across borders, it should be that of information.

Do you disagree with that? Do you think stopping information at borders ever, in any way, helps the people within those borders? Is that a good policy to endorse? (uh-oh - academically speaking, I'm talking about globalization AND content/culture as if cross-pollination was a wonderful thing... does that mean I don't understand it? if I don't consider it cross-contamination am I merely deluded into thinking people are better than they really are?)
The economic aspects of discrimination are, by the way, the most damaging to any group of people. The easiest way to keep a group down is to deny them equal access to jobs.
what exactly are the specific details of a situation wherein you think it would be acceptable to deny publication based purely on one's country of origin?

and, how exactly does that type of discrimination differ from gender/race/religion, etc.? as an american who is woman of color, foreign born, and not christian, i see no difference in what form the discrimination comes in, be it "go back to your own country," or "girls can't do X," or "you killed christ". it's all based on ignorance and hatred, regardless of the flavor. no one group of oppressed gets to claim the greatest oppression. (though, i might give the award to a blind, deaf, parapalegic, jew of american indian heritage who only spoke spanish, or something and gave birth to a half-black child.)
what exactly are the specific details of a situation wherein you think it would be acceptable to deny publication based purely on one's country of origin?

Well, pretty much exactly the details of this situation, as I wrote in a comment before I even knew what those details were. This is a magazine created for and focused on publishing patterns from a particular area of the world. The OP is not from that area of the world.

no one group of oppressed gets to claim the greatest oppression.

Not even the OP is claiming that this scenario is an instance of oppression based on her country of origin. Especially given the fact that she did, in fact, get published and get paid. It was just the mean comments of other persons after the paycheck arrived that apparently warranted a comparison to the experiences of gay people and Muslims.
actually - the paycheck has yet to arrive, but that's another story entirely...
WHAT THE @#%$@#??!!!
And... you still don't know the whole story, yet you are commenting on it.

The magazine might call itself the only UK-based magazine or whatever, but they hired 2 American acquisition editors *on purpose*. I wonder why? I wonder why the publisher deliberately chose to high people with US connections? They chose 2 women whose *credentials* were the US connections that they did not have, being based in the UK and all.

NOW DO YOU GET IT? But I wanted to deal in the abstract because the entire story is far more involved and political and points to how many publishers just use people (their designers and their customers), and how Inside Crochet is no different. Every person in the first 2 issues of Inside Crochet was asked personally to be a part of it - BY THE PUBLISHER, and now they are apologizing instead of standing behind the designers who met ridiculous deadlines so that they could get off the ground...

but again, here I just wanted people's feelings about nationalism, in the abstract. I wanted to know how/why people felt they related to other forms of arbitrary discrimination (not oppression). Am I not allowed to compare forms of discrimination if one of the examples *also* falls into the oppression category? Why? Because *you* said so?
ps - replying to others in the thread but not replying to the OP is rude. You are, of course, free to be snotty, but I would prefer that you behave in a better way - especially in my community in a post of mine. I won't kick you out, but I will call you out.
ok, now having actually gotten educated on the issue, i.e., reading the thread in question, i agree with josi. which i can guarantee you, is the first time.

so, it's a UK-oriented magazine. does that make it any less discriminatory? josi's right with the smell-test: input any other well known oppressed group, and if it sounds bad, then it _is_ bad. so, it's OK if a company wants only jewish spaniards, and doesn't hire anyone but. is that OK, or is that discrimination? they're a private company, and they say it in their bylaws what they're about. how about a private country club that doesn't admit minorities? is that OK? it says so in their bylaws that no brown/black/yellow/red person is allowed.

how are my above examples any different? because it's race? or because it's nationality? ok, we can change the example: company X has a hiring preference for americans. doesn't matter how qualified you are, you are going to the back of the line if you're not american. smells kinda stinky, right?

so, lets put it into a more applicable context: what happens if crochet! magazine put out that they're "american-centric" and american designers get preference. how well do you think that would fly here in the US? it stinks of the worst kind of nationalism, xenophobia and bigotry one can think. hence, the smell test.

europe has a real problem with that sort of thing. they wrap nationalism and xenophobia up in pretty terms like "pro-UK" or "pro-italy" (they have a HUEG problem with xenophobia and racism) which merely perpetuates a system of socially acceptable discrimination.

lastly, again, i see no difference between the type of discrimination josi speaks of, and the kind i dealt with growing up in an elementary school where i was the only minority in a population of 500 students in the late 70's. if you can speak personally on the subject of that sort of discrimination, and you think that it's different, that's a matter of opinion and personal prerogative; however, that doesn't make your opinion right.
so, lets put it into a more applicable context: what happens if crochet! magazine put out that they're "american-centric" and american designers get preference. how well do you think that would fly here in the US? it stinks of the worst kind of nationalism, xenophobia and bigotry one can think. hence, the smell test.

That's the exact thing that I was trying to do that kmd seems to have a problem with the most. I was trying to flip the tables to show that if it smells bad when the goose does it, it still stinks when the gander does it, too. But somehow, my comparisons are horribly out of line and inappropriate because they just can't be compared.

oh, and I spit coffee on my monitor @ reading the thread in question, i agree with josi. which i can guarantee you, is the first time.
The only thing I care about is whether it is a good pattern or not. It never even occurred to me to wonder about a designer's country of origin or their sexuality when looking at a crochet magazine. I only look at the pattern.

In your example, if they have a problem with a US based crochet magazine publishing a non-US designer, I would think they were kinda stupid. Crochet is a universal craft. I would think the more varied the contributions, the better.
This is pretty much my opinion as well. To the OP: You provided material the magazine requested, and nationalistic reactions are a rather foolish, IMO. The magazine ducking their own agency in the process is very bad business, as I'm sure there are people, such as you, who will choose not to submit to that magazine again, dropping their pool of talent.

In addition, I suspect I won't exert any energy into trying to read the magazine if they are going to act that way toward US citizens.
as someone from another country of origin than the one i live in, i see no problem with it.

actually, i love japanese irish crochet patterns. they're some of the best out there. and, they tend to use international graphs for their patterns, so they're pretty easy to figure out.
I covet so many Japanese crochet patterns I've seen! My birthday's soon and I'm strongly tempted to ask for one or two Japanese crochet lace books -- I'm sure between my residual knowledge of the language and my Japanese dictionary, I can figure them out well enough to work them.

To the OP, I don't give a darn where a pattern designer comes from if their work is solid. I mean, at most I get sadface when I find a truly beautiful pattern and discover that it's not available in the country I live in.