Tag Archives: Racism

Another Innocent Victim of Ignorance

1 Dec

I made the mistake this weekend of venturing into the city to pick up a few bits and bobs for the upcoming Christmas party season (I always feel it’s polite to arrive at a do with a dish, gift or floral arrangement that is equal to if not better than anything the hostess has prepared). I cannot say I enjoyed my trip out. I’m not going to bang on about the commercialism of the holiday season, for this has been done ad nauseam elsewhere by people more qualified than I to pass such judgments. Suffice it to say that I agree we should all be less materialistic. However, I also know that people will indeed continue to spend money at the holiday season so instead I would like to speak for a moment on what I see as a terrible injustice. And this is the unfair marketing of other precious stones over the beautiful emerald.

EmeraldNow this may seem a small example of villainy in a time when wars abound and bad people are continually doing bad things. And I suppose it is. But I have always believed that inequality at any level should be challenged and therefore I have nominated myself to this role of advocate for a jewel that cannot (and should not have to) speak for itself.

I cannot comprehend why emeralds are so often overlooked when one is shopping for jewellery. Rubies, of course, are red which we all know is the colour of whores, so why anyone would buy one of those is beyond my comprehension. Sapphires are a dime a dozen. Amethysts are pretty but I’m afraid have just too many new age connotations. Pearls are disgusting—do you know how they are created? I am not going to even pretend that an opal is precious, now that’s just silly talk. And I bet you’ve never even heard of a spinel, have you? Diamonds get serious press coverage, what with their inclusion into a deck of cards and their support from Miss Elizabeth Taylor. However, need I remind you that having violet eyes does not automatically qualify one as an expert in gems? Surely, something as important as a jewellery purchase should not be influenced by some celebrity’s opinion. Besides Leonardo DiCaprio once told me that there are some pretty dodgy dealings behind the diamond trade. What’s the worst that could happen when purchasing an emerald—a leprechaun might get his wings?

This leads me to what I think is behind this exclusion. Racism. Pure and simple. When people think of emeralds, they don’t think of their exquisite colour, their glorious clarity or the lovely way they set off a woman’s décolletage. They think of the Emerald Isle, and they want no part of it. Now it is not for me to judge whether theIrish are bastards, what with their ginger hair and penchant for overindulgence. That is for God alone to judge. As you know, I am an open-minded woman who abhors bigotry. This is why I beg those of you who are considering purchasing a piece of jewellery for a special lady this holiday season to put your petty prejudices aside and consider the emerald.  And to remember that my ring size is 4.5.

Please don’t let hatred spoil my Christmas morning. Is that too much to ask during the season of peace?

A Wild Garden Can Be A Lovely Garden (An Allegory)

5 Aug

Quite an unsettling afternoon at the Garden Club!

Today we were to vote on the first round of the Lovely Garden Competition. We had a record-breaking twenty-three entrants, I’m happy to report. However, the one at the bottom of the Close was described, on its application and by the judges, as a “wild garden,” which drew the immediate wrath of the other ladies (and one gentleman) on the committee. The edict was to eliminate it from the contest. I confess, troublemaker that I am, I felt compelled to question this stance.

I was told that a Lovely Garden must be planned and manicured—it must be controlled, not wild. When I asked why, one woman nearly fainted with shock and disgust:  “Because that is how it always has been! This contest has been running for over fifty years. Those are the rules that we follow, and you know that, Miss Agatha!”

I can relieve your minds that I did not rise to such bait. Instead I calmly made my case.

“Is it not true, Mrs Tartuffe, that when the Lovely Garden competition started, the Club President banned all gardens that grew Edelweiss?”

“Yes. Mrs Smith’s father had been killed in the war and she was worried about associating with anything German.”

“And do you suggest that we begin banning Edelweiss again because anyone growing it is most certainly a Nazi?”

“Don’t be silly,” she retorted. (Note: I was not unaware that her own garden exhibited said flower.)

“And is it not true that in the 1980s, both bachelors and those who grew pansies were excluded from the competition?”

“I am afraid so,” she said, shamefacedly.

“And do you know why?”

“Yes, we all know why.”

“And do you suggest that we now exclude any gardeners of the homosexual persuasion?” I knew this would drive home the point as her very own son, a practitioner of man-on-man love, was hoping to take home the blue ribbon this year. Her red face provided her answer.

“So when you look back on the Club’s past,” I said,  “you can see rules or policies that now seem just a little bit ridiculous. My question to you is this: in 2052, when the Club Contest Committee meets to look at applicants, how will they view our ban on wild gardens? Will they say, yes, that’s entirely sensible, or will they see our ignorance and bigotry the same way we see Mrs Smith’s or Reverend Lance’s? If you do not rate the wild garden, do not award it points. However, should we deny this young man” (who looks quite fetching in his gardening gear) “a chance? Should we deny him his right to participate just because his beliefs about gardens differ from yours? Thinking of those gardeners of the future, which side of history would you prefer to be on?”

I am pleased to say that the wild garden will be considered for this year’s honour. Hurrah for the triumph over close-mindedness! And if the young, wild gardener on Blackbird Close is reading this, I would be happy to join you for tea amongst your Tufted Vetch and Creeping Thistle anytime.

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