The Racism of Kristy Glass

Hey y'all. Gonna make you aware of a situation involving a white Latter-day Saint creator and influencer in the knitting, crocheting, and fiber arts community who just got called out on her racism. You know, in case she tries to galvanize white supporters from this community to defend her when it goes down.

Some of y'all might remember Kristy Glass from the I'm a Mormon campaign. Her video made it through the "We Don't Say Mormon Anymore" rebrand and you'll find it here.

She has a popular Youtube channel where she interviews makers all over the yarn crafting industry. Pattern designers, yarn dyers, shop owners, everyone who's anyone in a global, multi-million dollar industry. Those of you who knit likely already know her name.

A couple years back, the entire community had a moment of reckoning for how it treats black, indigenous, and LGBTQ+ consumers and creators. It's an ongoing conversation that white people have tried to silence so they can "get back to knitting. When that didn't work, a new approach emerged. Rather than pretending black makers and crafters don't exist or belong, white creators tried exploiting and make money off of their presence to show how "woke" they are. That's what Kristy Glass has being accused of doing.

In the words of Adella Colvin, who blew up Kristy's spot on Instagram today, there is a brand of white social media influencer in maker communities who collect black and indigenous people "like Pokemon." They don't care about inclusivity or diversity. Just clout.

Here's the link so you can hear what Adella has to say in her own words. I've followed Adella for years. If she says something is a problem, I trust her implicitly. She doesn't say stuff like this to cause trouble. She does it to invite change. Adella shared her own experience of when Kristy tried to do this to her. She also has firsthand experience of watching her do it to other black people. Specifically, she's calling out Kristy's business model of targeting newer BIPOC creators and having them pay her for exposure.

You know what's worse than expecting someone to work for free, because "exposure" doesn't pay anybody's bills? Charging black and brown people to work for you while they supply you with content. Adella called that exploitation and I agree with her.

"That sounds like a Yarn Folks problem. What you want us to do about that?"

As I said in the beginning, do not let her weaponize her whiteness or her connections to the LDS community if she tries. Based on how these conversations have gone down in the past with other creators, that's on the table. It's another opportunity for us, as Mormon and Mormon adjacent folks, to reckon with the community that taught us it's okay to exploit the labor of BIPOC while providing entirely hypothetical value in return.

Our economy runs on money, not "exposure." Exposure doesn't pay bills or buy food. Pay people a fair price for the value they provide for you in money. And if you get caught not doing that with black and brown people, expect it to blow up in your face.

Adella isn't calling for anyone to unfollow Kristy Glass. But I will. Don't follow someone or give support to them when they treat people like this. If she wants to have a brand that is inclusive and genuinely celebrates diversity, her heart needs to be in it. Not just her pockets.

* * *

UPDATE: As predicted, Kristy decided to act brand new about this entire situation. Adella, who is not having it, took her to task in public because Kristy chose not act right in private.

This total disregard for black people and their experiences, their boundaries, and their patience for how openly disrespectful she is to them on a regular basis. It has been going on with Kristy Glass for years.

Do y'all have any idea how wrong you gotta be to get a black woman to publicly cuss you out while wearing her bonnet? 

Viewing Kristy's response to the situation, she seems to think the only thing she has to apologize for are the out of pocket comments she made about Michelle Obama's cover on Vogue Knitting magazine.

By the time a black person in America is publicly calling out a white person for being racist, it's because they've already amassed an entire collection of receipts as evidence and they're exhausted by ongoing behavior they never should've had to tolerate at all.

"Pray to the racist white God you believe in and thank them that I'm not petty. Because if I was, I would post all the messages and screen shots I've received from other people about you" is a paraphrase that is not far off from what Adella said, and is 100% about Kristy being Mormon.

Which is to say, I now have the perfect comeback for the next person who gets uppity about me still calling myself Mormon. "I don't actually know if God is offended when I call myself Mormon. It's never come up. But I know he's offended every time you say Jesus is white."  

You may not think Kristy's religion is relevant to this conversation about her racism. I've been Mormon for fifteen years. I know it's relevant. There is real white supremacy in my church that needs to be rejected and dismantled. These conversations are how we do that.

I respect Adella immensely. I believe her. I trust her. Do not come into my space and disrespect her or any of the BIPOC makers who have been affected by this. I am here to dismantle white supremacy in my religious community. I'm not going to stop just because you don't want to acknowledge it in fiber world. This is what "doing the work" in anti-racism looks like. This is what BIPOC are constantly asking us to do. You can be part of that work, or you can move along. But do not interrupt what is taking place here with white lady tears or confused bird noises. Learn something.

Get Vaccinated!

Before I joined the Church, I came from evangelical Christianity. I'd been attending church with my best friend and her family. Her father was the pastor. They claimed to be non-denominational, but were actually Southern Baptists.

She invited me because she was tired of being the only girl get age in her youth program, and I never said "No" to an invitation to attend someone else's church. Her family was kind to me. They were lovely people whose influence on me was important in my life. That said, their message didn't resonate with me. I didn't feel like what they had to offer me was increasing my faith or bringing me closer to God. I couldn't articulate what I was looking for at the time. I only knew they didn't have it.

I left that church, despite the positive associations and friendships I had, because I didn't believe what they were teaching me. They were irreconcilable differences not only in thought, but in values.

I don't believe the Bible is the best representation we have of God's reality, purpose, and voice. The living God who speaks is. I don't believe spiritual gifts and divine works are manifest only through pastors. I believe all of us have direct access to the divine. Most importantly, I believe that God is present and real in the effort to teach and educate us because we need divine mentorship. We need guidance, help, and healing that doesn't come from a book. We haven't already learned everything we need to know from the Bible. 

When I was introduced to the Church and discovered the entire concept of continuing revelation, I was sold. Not because I was particularly attracted to the concept of living prophets. But because I'd found the place where no error in human thinking is permanently entrenched.

So when I give the following warning to those who choose to stay and be active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I'm speaking from personal experience.

When you interact with political parties, especially the Republican party, you are interacting with thoughts, ideas, and approaches to policy that come from these evangelical communities. Their ideas about vaccines, public health, the individual's obligation to their community, our obligation to sustain governments—we differ from them on almost all of these points. So why would we wholesale adopt their approaches on anything? Especially social distancing, vaccine, and mask mandates?

When we cling to their ideas, in contradiction of the instructions we've been given from our own leadership on how to protect each other with masking and vaccination, we introduce apostasy into the Church. To be clear, the personal and political positions of church leadership are not what define apostasy. However, harm and the disregard for human life and the dignity of others does.

I left evangelical Christianity for Mormonism because they are distinctly different from each other in ways that matter and need to be maintained. I'm not going to watch well-intentioned but willfully blind folks introduce evangelical failure into my community without pointing it out with the clearest language I possess. And when it comes to the choices happening in my community related to COVID-19, it's an influence of which we need to be deeply mistrusting. Taking unnecessary risks with other peoples' lives doesn't become acceptable because other Christians are doing it.

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