The lunacy continues…
A reporter for the Washington Post ran a report recently titled “The racist legacy many birds carry,” which focused on the “birding community” having a difficult debate “about the names of species connected to enslavers, supremacists, and grave robbers.”
“Corina Newsome is a Black ornithologist, as rare as some of the birds she studies,” the author wrote, adding that she was hired to “break down barriers” at the Georgia Audubon nature preserve.
“But overcoming those barriers will be daunting. As with the wider field of conservation, racism and colonialism are in ornithology’s DNA, indelibly linked to its origin story. The challenge of how to move forward is roiling White ornithologists as they debate whether to change as many as 150 eponyms, names of birds that honor people with connections to slavery and supremacy.”
The article goes on to assert that birds such as Bachman’s sparrow and Wallace’s fruit dove “bear the names of men who fought for the Southern cause, stole skulls from Indian graves for pseudoscientific studies that were later debunked, and bought and sold Black people.”
“Conservation has been driven by white patriarchy, this whole idea of calling something a wilderness after you move people off it or exterminate them and that you get to take ownership,” Black ornithologist J. Drew Lanham is quoted as saying in the piece.
“They are a reminder that this field that I work in was primarily developed and shaped by people not like me, who probably would have viewed me as lesser,” Asian American ornithologist Olivia Wang told The Post. “They are also a reminder of how Western ornithology, and natural exploration in general, was often tied to a colonialist mindset of conquering and exploiting and claiming ownership of things rather than learning from the humans who were already part of the ecosystem and had been living alongside these birds for lifetimes.”