Is it Racist to Call Your Plant “Afro”?
I’m going to be perfectly honest here and tell you that plants scare me. Between watching some sci-fi show where rutabagas screamed if you pulled them out of the ground and wincing through 15 minutes of The Little Shop of Horrors, I am absolutely convinced that plants are just biding their time until they take over the earth. This was difficult when I became a vegetarian for about 5 years, and the only reason I didn’t give up eating plants as well as animals was because the only other option available in my limited imagination was to become a vampire. And Twilight hadn’t come out yet, so that wasn’t really the fashion at the time.
So when my daughter came home from a trip to the nursery (plants not infants) with my husband, I was fine with not knowing what purchases had been made. Dimples, though, loves to share.
“Guess what I got!”
“Ladybugs?” I asked, hopefully. To me, those are the only benign living things available at the nursery.
“Nope. A Venus flytrap!”
Yay. Please don’t put it anywhere near the vicinity of my bedroom.
Since I wasn’t very encouraging when Dimples made the initial announcement, mostly because I was convinced that the Dusty Miller I killed in my classroom last week had ordered a hit on me and that her plant was a “plant”, I decided to try again at dinner time.
“So, what are you going to name your plant?” Thinking that giving it a name might de-creepify it somehow. Although that didn’t really help with Dusty Miller.
Dimples is not big on putting a lot of effort into names. Her blue fish is named, “Sky,” for example. And her stuffed dog has never even had a name. She’s had it for 7 years.
“Afro,” she declared immediately.
Great. So now plants and African-Americans will hate me.
“Uh, why?” That seemed a better response than, “Are you the only person in the world who sees naming a plant as an opportunity to be politically incorrect?”
“You know. Venus. Aphrodite. Aphro.”
“Oh,” my husband and I both breathed audible sighs of relief.
So, it seems I’m safe. Even safer now that she moved Afro outside after trying to feed it hamburger meat and attracting a bunch of ants to its strangely disinterested (because it only wants human blood) trappy little mouths.
Until she goes outside to check on it, and yells for the whole neighborhood to hear, “Mom, I think my Afro caught some bugs!”