No, this isn’t from The Onion: Dr. Ben Pitcher, a lecturer at the University of Westminster, claims that the (British) radio show “Gardeners’ Question Time” is peddling … racial stereotypes.
“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?”
Dr. Pitcher said the “crisis in white identity in multicultural Britain” meant people felt unable to express their views for fear of being called racist, so expressed their racial identity in other ways, such as talking about gardening.
Lola Young, a former professor of cultural studies, backs Pitcher up:
“I remember back in the late 80s-early 90s when rhododendrons were seen as this huge problem, and people were talking about going out rhododendron-bashing.
“That was at a time when Paki-bashing was something that was all too prevalent on our streets.”
A presenter from the gardening show, Bob Flowerdew, is quite tactful in response: “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.”
Gosh, who would have thought?
IMAGE: Rob Chandalais/Flickr