White people may be the equivalent of kudzu

Dear President Trump,

In our backyard every spring we have hundreds of volunteer blue bells and every summer we have dozens of rose campions. Both are pretty and both are noxious invasive species that serious gardeners do their best to eradicate. Invasive species, whether plant or animal, are huge problems in lots of ecosystems as those older systems don’t have built in checks and balances to keep unfamiliar, aggressive species from proliferating to the point where the native species are choked out. I realize it’s possible that in a Darwinian sense all ecosystems have changed over the millennia and at any given time were in transition as new invasive species came on the scene. Thus, it is probably impossible to say that anything is truly native to a given place but it seems like things get dicey when a given invasive species is so dominant that virtually nothing else can grow. Kudzu comes to mind.

White people may be the equivalent of kudzu. When relatively large numbers of us came onto the scene about 350 years ago we were essentially an invasive species and we brought with us a whole host of tag-along invasive species including vermin, plant seeds, and bacteria, as well as tools to cut down the forests to refashion the ecosystem to more resemble man-made Europe. The native people, flora, and fauna didn’t have natural protections to withstand the onslaught and were largely killed off or displaced. It makes me too sad to do it very often now, but as a child I regularly imagined what the land my city was built on would have looked like had white people not ever come here. Obviously things change and we aren’t ever going back to a US with no white people or a countryside that isn’t largely paved and refashioned to suit us; we have become the new normal. But isn’t it ironic that white supremacist people are rabid about defending “white culture” against immigrants and people of color? They seem to be missing some pretty fundamental things about our relative newcomer status and what our presence did to this place. To me, immigrants and non-white people are helping break up the hegemony of us kudzu-like white people and are helping establish a more balanced, vibrant, and diverse ecosystem, so to speak.

May we all be safe as we navigate change.
May we all be happy to welcome the stranger.
May we all be healthy and strong enough to flex.
May all of our lives unfold and intersect peacefully.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

 

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