A new NY Times piece attacks Americans that have lawns, portraying them as selfish, non socially conscious, and anti-environmentalist.
They also imply having a lawn may be a racially charged statement as “these lawns come on the backs of slaves.”
If having a lawn means all this, what will the Social Justice Warriors attack next?
While most Americans are spending time this summer enjoying the sun in the comfort of their houses’ yards, the New York Times is out with a new exposé on how lawn care is problematic, once viewed through the lens of social justice.
Lawns are contributing to pollution and climate change, asserts narrator David Botti, and their origins are far from woke, in a seven-minute video on the history of American lawns.
Botti says lawns are part of the “colonizing of America,” which transformed the landscape from “pristine wilderness” to “identical rows of manicured nature.”
“These lawns come on the backs of slaves,” he continues, zooming in on a painting of George Washington in a field to highlight men cutting the grass with scythes. “It’s grueling, endless work.”
“By the 1870s we also see American culture slowly start to embrace lawns for the privileged masses,” he states.
The video explains that the perfect lawn is associated with being a model citizen, how the first sprinkler was invented in 1871, and about the advent of “so-called trade cards” that “advertised the hell out of lawn and garden products.”
The Times also refers to the work of historian Ted Steinberg, who calls lawns the “outdoor expression of ’50s conformism.”
To drive home the point, he inserts vintage footage of two women being interviewed in their yards talking about how they moved to their communities to live exclusively near other white people. Neither of them says anything about desiring, having, or maintaining a lawn.
The Times refers readers to two books: Steinberg’s American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn and The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession, by Virginia Scott Jenkins.
Jenkins’ book concludes that lawns in America are status symbols, and their popularity grew due to promotion by the garden and golf industries and the federal government’s United States Department of Agriculture.
She also said that lawns “are a symbol of man’s control of, or superiority, over his environment.”