“Gardeners’ Question Time? It’s so racist: Sociologist rails at references to ‘non-native’ plants,” was the headline of an August 4 Daily Mail article:
Dr Ben Pitcher, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Westminster, says the panel show is ‘saturated’ with racial language.
From debates about native and non-native plant species to advice about the purity of different soil types, the programme’s resident green-fingered experts are secretly feeding nationalist and fascist fantasies, he claims.
Speaking on another Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed, he said: ‘Gardeners’ Question Time is not the most controversial show on Radio 4, and yet it is layered with, saturated with, racial meanings. 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 there is a ‘crisis in white identity in multicultural Britain’ caused by the fact that ‘white culture’ is historically associated with racism and far-Right views.
White people are therefore forced to find other ways of talking about white identity – such as through gardening – so they do not appear to be racist.
And Slate recently published a column by Amanda Marcotte in which she essentially claims that home-cooked meals are oppressive:
The home-cooked meal has long been romanticized, from ’50s-era sitcoms to the work of star food writer Michael Pollan, who once wrote, “far from oppressing them, the work of cooking approached in the proper spirit offered a kind of fulfillment and deserved an intelligent woman’s attention.” In recent years, the home-cooked meal has increasingly been offered up as the solution to our country's burgeoning nutrition-related health problems of heart disease and diabetes. But while home-cooked meals are typically healthier than restaurant food, sociologists Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton from North Carolina State University argue that the stress that cooking puts on people, particularly women, may not be worth the trade-off.
Such illogical accusations show that it will only be time before these same types of people stir up outrage over the Siri intelligent personal assistant from Apple and the Cortana intelligent personal assistant from Microsoft, both of which use female voices. The claim will be that they perpetuate the concept of women being subordinates, which will be deemed a bad thing—a so-called misogynistic stereotype.