I've been thinking about this thread for a few days now, and finally had to post my thoughts. I've hesitated because my thoughts are different, but very parallel to the things posted already.
I've met with the strange reactions of others, and other knitters, not because of the color of my skin but for other external issues... I'm Polish-American (as in dark hair and eyes and pale, Eastern-European skin), and I'm also quite the gender-bender. My hair is shorter than my bf's, I wear a leather jacket, and other-wise present an image other than that of other young women in my age range. I consider myself queer, not because of my sexuality but because of my blurred views on sexuality and gender (including gender presentation). Aparently, most people assume that a utilitarian view of fassion, nearly buzzed short hair, and sensible shoes (read "no high-heels") must somehow mean lesbian.
When I go to my favorite LYS I always feel a little out of place. Even in San Fransicso's racially diverse populace, almost all of the patrons are white women. And nearly all of them seem to be wealthy, fassionable, manicured white women, with expensive hair cuts and new, designer clothes. The owner (a kind woman who works with her daughter) has been nothing but sweet to me, but the other patrons always look sideways at me, sometimes covertly, sometimes overtly. It is strange to be stared at because I fit a different demographic and sense of self. Even the young, "hip" girls look at me like I'm some kind of strange curiosity on display.
Some of my college peers find it strange that I knit because knitting is so feminine... I guess I don't fit their picture of what feminine is. Though when asked, they have a hard time defining what they mean by feminine.
FeministMama, you posted because of your sense of exclusion based on the color of your skin. I post because of my sense of exclusion based on my expression of self.
So, with that said, a few thoughts; one, no matter how liberal and PC our world is becoming, there is still a long way to go; two, I raise a toast to the impartiality of the internet, where all of us are just humans who come together to talk about the things we all love as humans, not as labels; and three, ROCK ON to all of us who've chimed in to share their thoughts, experiences, stories, suggestions, support, curiosity, interest, and listening ears, and to every one who spent a moment to think about what others were saying even though they may not have spoken up themselves.
Culture may still discriminate in ancient, ridiculous ways, but it is between actual people real life is shared and celebrated. And what a wonderful, enjoyable, silly thing is knitting to bring celebration out.
Ok, I'm done with my sappy philosophising.