WASHINGTON POST:”Dozens of Bird Names Honoring Enslavers and Racists Will Be Changed”
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From the Washington Post news section:

Dozens of bird names honoring enslavers and racists will be changed

The American Ornithological Society says it will alter the names of North American birds named after humans, starting with up to 80 of them

By Darryl Fears
Updated November 1, 2023 at 9:52 a.m. EDT

After two years of discussion and debate, the nation’s premier birding organization has decided that birds should not have human names.

The American Ornithological Society announced Wednesday that it will remove names given to North American birds in honor of people and replace them with monikers that better describe their plumage and other characteristics. The group said it will prioritize birds whose names trace to enslavers, white supremacists and robbers of Indigenous graves. Among them is one of the most famous birders in U.S. history, John James Audubon.

“There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today,” the society’s president, Colleen Handel, said in a statement. “We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves.”

And then all those cool black people will get into bird-watching!

Sometime next year, the society is expected to appoint a committee to explore up to 80 new names. The move, at an organization known for its reluctance to rename birds, was surprising even to the activists within the group who requested it after a White woman in Central Park falsely accused a Black birder of assault in 2020. In a racial reckoning that shook the field of ornithology, the activists, most of them White, argued that the names of some birds were offensive to people of color.

A lot of people think I just made up the term “racial reckoning” because it’s seldom used in the hard news sections of newspapers since the 2022 election campaign season, when the Democrats decided that it wasn’t a vote winner anymore. But back in the soft culture news parts of newspapers, institutional momentum continues to drive the ongoing racial reckoning. Thus, the New York Times wrote today: “The Central Park encounter inspired the creation of Black Birders Week, an annual campaign to celebrate the lives and careers of Black birders, which then spurred an avalanche of similar initiatives in the sciences against the backdrop of a nationwide racial reckoning.”

“We have seen a lot of changes in our world in the recent past,” Sara Morris, the society’s president-elect, said in reference to racial justice protests that followed George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer and the Central Park incident involving birder Christian Cooper.

Racial insensitivity in the overwhelmingly White field of ornithology and birding should be rejected, Morris said. Recent reports projected that North America has lost 3 billion birds in the last 50 years, and “we need to engage as many people as we can in the enjoyment, study and conservation of birds as we can,” said Morris. “We need to break down as many barriers to participation as we can.”

Not every birder in the 2,700-member society is expected to welcome the news. Some who’ve memorized names established for more than a century are likely to push back. “Are we expecting that people won’t agree with this decision—sure,” Morris said. “But we’re proud of this decision.”

Besides they are old and going to die. Who cares if they can’t learn the new names and therefore are humiliated and shamed by young birders who will learn the new names growing up? (There are young bird-watchers, aren’t there?)

[Comment at Unz.com]

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