James Wong, a mainstream media columnist and ambassador for the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, has alleged that “UK gardening culture has racism baked into its DNA” in a bizarre rant on social media.
Wong, a columnist for the increasingly leftist New Scientist magazine, was responding to another social media user, University of Greenwich academic Ed Wall, who had commented on a Wong article in the Guardian titled ‘Other arts are political, why not gardening?’ saying: “Gardens are denied their political agency because they too often reveal uncomfortable politics of individual ownership, spatial inequity, & unsustainable practices. There needs to be more honest conversations about gardens in the UK!”
Wall’s spiel was poorly received by several ordinary social media users — “How much agency do you suppose we give the inanimate, non-sentient plants. Who is their spokesperson? Perhaps they ought set up a pressure group?” asked one, facetiously — but Wong agreed enthusiastically.
“Absolutely U.K. gardening culture has racism baked into its DNA,” Wong replied.
“It’s so integral that when you point out it’s [sic] existence, people assume you are against gardening, not racism,” he claimed.
“Epitomised, for example, by the fetishisation (and wild misuse) of words like ‘heritage’ and ‘native’.”
Absolutely U.K. gardening culture has racism baked into its DNA.
It’s so integral that when you point out it’s existence, people assume you are against gardening, not racism.
Epitomised, for example, by the fetishisation (and wild misuse) of words like ‘heritage’ and ‘native’. https://t.co/V33PozV2HU
— James Wong (@Botanygeek) December 12, 2020
To bolster his allegations, Wong cited an incident in which he received negative feedback from “a room of (100% white) critics” on a planting proposal for east London.
“Feedback was that international planting ‘didn’t fit the area’ and I ‘should do native wildflowers’,” he recalled, seething that “The site was founded by Romans & an immigration epicentre for +2,000 yrs.”
“This is the kind of exhausting shit you have to go through everyday [sic] if you work in U.K. horticulture,” Mr Wong lamented.
“Unless of course you internalise these unquestioned (often unconscious) ideas that are predicated in large part on a bedrock xenophobia and racism.”
BBC Countryfile Presenter: ‘The Countryside Is Racist’ https://t.co/PbGi21H78f
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 16, 2020
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