Leftist Kenn Kaufman, who is the author of a number of birding field guides and an artist, is calling for birds that are reportedly named after racists to be renamed in order to further social justice.
NPR wrote a lengthy piece about Kaufman having an epiphany over the historical names of birds. Since America ostensibly is being pushed to come to grips with what the article calls a “complicated racial past,” changing names of birds that are affiliated with those considered racist is allegedly the next logical, cleansing step for progressives after renaming statues, ballparks, schools, and military bases.
Naturalists such as John James Audubon would name a bird after a friend or colleague when a species was discovered. Now, those names are being scrutinized and history is about to be adjusted once again.
“There’s Wilson’s warbler, and Swainson’s warbler, and Kirtland’s warbler,” Kaufman noted.
“You’ve got Nuttall’s woodpecker, and Cassin’s Vireo, Cassin’s auklet, and then there’s Botteri’s sparrow, and Bachman’s sparrow,” he added.
The names were not an issue for Kaufman until last year when he discovered historical details concerning John Bachman who was a Lutheran minister in South Carolina.
“He also fancied himself to be a scientist,” remarked Kaufman, “and part of what he wrote about was suggesting that whites were just naturally superior to members of other races.” He charged that Bachman’s theories supported efforts to justify slavery.
“Once you start realizing that kind of thing about these historical characters,” commented Kaufman, “the bird names take on a more sinister tone.”
Inclusivity rules the day for young bird aficionados. Jordan Rutter is one such enthusiast. He hails from Washington, DC, and is the co-founder of Bird Names for Birds. Their goal is to make birds named after people more inclusive. He has actively petitioned the American Ornithological Society to tackle racist bird names.
“We call these bird names verbal statues,” Rutter unabashedly stated, “because so many of them truly are honoring folks that were involved in colonial and Confederate times.”
“As we have this community-wide education event to relearn the names, we can talk about the conservation need that they have,” he posited.
American Ornithological Society President Mike Webster is all-in for the idea: “We want to, and will, change those bird names that need to be changed,” he vowed. The organization has even set up an 18-member committee to review bird names. They should have renaming recommendations ready by the end of the year.
Last year, the McCown’s longspur was renamed the thick-billed longspur because McCown had been a Confederate general. Webster claims it shows their commitment to social justice concerns.
“The American Ornithological Society (AOS) acknowledges the systemic barriers faced by scientists of color, who have been largely underrepresented in STEM disciplines and, specifically, in avian systematics. AOS unequivocally supports increasing diversity and inclusion in ornithology and is committed to anti-racism,” the organization told CNN.
Our goal in building this committee is to represent the broad demographic & geographic #diversity of stakeholders interested in the determination & use of English bird names. 2/3
— American Ornithological Society (@AmOrnith) June 8, 2021
This new committee will not have the responsibility of changing English bird names, but will make recommendations on a process to do so that includes the perspectives from many stakeholders in the broader #ornithological & #birding communities. 3/3
— American Ornithological Society (@AmOrnith) June 8, 2021
Leftists are convinced that bird watching has a diversity problem and a number of them are coming forward to support the renaming cause.
Nicole Jackson is an organizer for Black Birders Week, which was held for the first time last year after a Black Birder was assaulted by a white woman in Central Park. She is promoting the need for safe access to nature for people of color.
“Black people are in these spaces,” stated Jackson, “and we need to feel like we have enough of a community that we can talk to each other and feel safe.”
Another bird activist is Tykee James, who is also from Washington, DC, and is the co-founder of Freedom Birders. They take their name from the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights movement.
“As an activist in the birding community I would say that I’m seeking to decolonize the birding experience,” James declared.
He claims that the white, colonial past has been passed down in the names of approximately 150 North American birds that were named after people.
James believes names should reflect the nature of birds themselves and their history, “not glorifications of folks that would not want people like me birding today.”
Not everyone was thrilled by the politically correct move:
Some loon named Kenn Kaufman wants to change bird names because they were named by racists.
No one is safe from the cancel culture.⁰Not even birds. Please don’t change the boobys name. pic.twitter.com/MbE8ZKR0uK
— Robert (@Fltr2009) June 10, 2021
This might be the stupidest thing ever. Oh, wait….
— 🇺🇸American Made🇺🇸 (@slvrbltbeergirl) June 8, 2021
Does this include Woody Woodpecker, Big Bird, Donald Duck? That’s just how STUPID this is!😵💫
— Joel (@FluffyFireman) June 8, 2021
They should change their own names. I am sure there were colonialists with same names.
— 李江琳 (@JianglinLi) June 8, 2021
— Patricia Campbell (@Patrici09407999) June 9, 2021
Birds (like many other species) are often named after their discoverers. Or, at least the person believed to be the discoverer. You know, like Amerigo Vespucci! Not one person who lived before 1980 can match the modern prescribed morality. This is idiocy!!
— texanconstitutionalist (@texanconstitut1) June 8, 2021
— Bluejay (@Bluejay_m7) June 8, 2021
Maybe if they ever accomplished anything, other than being perpetually offended by everything, some shit would be named after them.
— Dan Wilush (@MatCat58) June 8, 2021
I certainly hope they will consult the birds before any name change. If birds are caught by surprise there will be chaos in the sky.
— Felix Dzerzhinksy (@dzerzhinksy) June 8, 2021
Can we get any more ridiculous?
— Baron Krieger (@Bryan_aka_Baron) June 8, 2021
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