Could gardening talkback radio be racist? A British academic says yes, indeed it can.
Dr Ben Pitcher, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster says that the terms by which much of gardening is described and discussed are ways of expressing racist and fascist views in a time when people feel they cannot openly express such thoughts.
“The context here is the rise of nationalism. The rise of racist and fascist parties across Europe. Nationalism is about shoring up a fantasy of national integrity. My question is, what feeds nationalism? What makes nationalism powerful?”
Bob Flowerdew, a regular on BBC’s Gardener’s Question Time described the allegation as “ridiculous” and added:
“People aren’t gardening because they have some narrow nationalist view of the world…….they are gardening because they enjoy it and they like to be outside in nice surroundings.”
While Dr Pitcher has published a rebuttal of this ‘silly season beat up’ of his comments on ‘Thinking Allowed‘, he does contend that:
“….accounts of alien immigrant invasions, weak native hosts bedevilled by larger, more aggressive, rapidly reproducing foreign species, and stable sustainable environments upset and jeopardised by overpopulation, clearly demonstrate a language that is shared in descriptions of human and nonhuman life.
There’s a paradox here that many of us are happier than ever to live in multicultural societies but use a xenophobic language to understand and interpret the natural world. Yet the defence of nature and the defence of the nation can have more in common than we might first acknowledge”.
What do you think?