Monday, May 25, 2009

White Folks and the Dandelion

© 2009 Karen Van Fossan

Some of us who read this blog are white, no doubt about it. As we white folks know, being white is nothing we like to talk about.

But I’ve been observing white folks for a while now.

There appears to be an enemy among us, a ubiquitous kind of enemy. It seems to be our duty (judging by our actions) to eradicate this enemy once and for all.

In 1492, it was Savagery.
In 1593, it was Witchcraft.
In 1954, it was Communism.

As Colin Powell has stated, "What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?"

Colin Powell suggests our greatest threat is our own fear.

But when you look around –

You can see us white folks, facing a threat which statesmen rarely mention:

Taraxacum officinale.

Otherwise known as Dent de Lion (which translates into Lion’s Teeth).
Otherwise known as Priest’s Crown.
Otherwise known as Swine’s Snout.

In other words, the Dandelion.

Of course, you’ve seen what’s happening: You can spot us white folks, struggling across America – doing battle with the enemy. For some, it’s a daily endeavor; for some, a weekend mission. Some will even hire a private contractor.

And, yes, we have supplies. We have weaponry. We have strategies – keeping abreast of the battlefield. There we are, on the front lines, year after year after year.

Together, we stand. Divided, we fall. When one of us, even one of us, in the neighborhood drops the fight – well, the rest of us have to fight harder.

Still – if there’s anyone who should understand the dandelion, it’s us.

Six Things We American White Folks Have in Common with the Dandelion:

1) We were imported from lands like England and Germany.
2) We love to take root in American soil.
3) When we can, we spread as far and wide as the eye can see –
4) Which causes us to get in the way of indigenous growth.
5) But, under proper management, we can be fairly useful –
6) Even though our best potential has largely remained unknown.

So, white folks, what do you say? What if we dropped the fight?

What if we found compassion for the dandelion?

No more noxious spraying. No more funky nitrogen pellets. No more disposable Chemlawn flags at the corners of our lawns.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to let dandelions take over. History shows that it doesn’t work (and isn’t working today) for foreign plants to occupy indigenous lands.

But, seeing as the dandelions are here, seeing as they’re everywhere, seeing as it’s impossible to send them back to England now – maybe we can find another solution.

What if we found a balance?

Native grasses. Perennials. Some clover for the bees.

And – the common dandelion.

I have a friend who soaks the roots in apple cider vinegar. My partner and I fry the leaves with lots of onions and garlic. Even the USDA proclaims its value.

As a tea, tincture, extract, or food – dandelion has been reported to…

* Dissolve kidney stones.
* Cleanse acne.
* Assist in weight management.
* Prevent or control diabetes.
* Stop cancer.

Perhaps, like the dandelion, we white folks have something to offer.

Maybe, hating the dandelion, we’re only hating ourselves – the invaders who haven’t found a place of balance.

Of course, unlike white folks – dandelions have nothing to apologize for. They never enslaved a nation or dropped an atomic bomb.

But maybe, when we find what we can love about the dandelion – we can stop our fighting.

We can stop our battles.

And maybe we can turn our history around.


blogslut said...

Love this! And this spring I've been noticing how very yellow they seem...quite beautiful!

JGH said...

If we had no Dandelions what would we blow into the wind to make a wish? What would we pick to give our teacher or Mother? The world would be sadder without Dandelions!

macon d said...

Excellent! Yes, the parallels are obvious, now that you've pointed them out. And you've given me so much more to say to those grumbling, anal neighbors who complain about my "imperfect" "lawn."

Anonymous said...

love it!
awesome vehicle fr dealing w racism

Kristi said...

Beautiful collection of dandelion photos!