Class identifies plants in a field.
Me: do you see what is different in the following three classifications?
Duchesnia indica; Medicago lupulina; Grasses

Students: *blank stares*
Me: do we recognize that grasses are a large group that includes more than one species?

Nodding. affirmative grunts.

Me: Why do you think we do that? It’s easier, we do not have the time to identify the grasses to a more accurate level. That expertise requires more effort, care, consideration. so we ignore their individual differences and lump them into one group. this means our data is less accurate and we cannot really describe the diversity of grasses or make any decision appropriate to grass conservation, the impact of grasses or whether or not individual grass species negatively impact the other species.

Students nod.

Me: It’s just like racism. *wry smile

Students stop breathing briefly.

You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty. -Jessica Mitford, author, journalist, and civil rights activist (11 Sep 1917-1996)