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Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: hal
Date: June 08, 2021 09:30PM
How far does this thing go? How about ancient Greeks and Romans? Many things named after those folks, many of them owned slaves. I'm pretty much content with letting the young generation decide these things. I don't see a need to change names of birds, but I'm an old guy whose opinion isn't really important.

[www.washingtonpost.com]

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 Bachman’s sparrow, Wallace’s fruit dove and other winged creatures 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. Some of these men stoked violence and participated in it without consequence.

Even John James Audubon’s name is fraught in a nation embroiled in a racial reckoning. Long the most recognized figure in North American birding for his detailed drawings of the continent’s species, he was also an enslaver who mocked abolitionists working to free Black people.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Acer
Date: June 08, 2021 09:54PM
Most of these slave-associated bird guys are pretty obscure, as are the birds they are associated with. Audubon is a tough one, though. Not for the birds he is associated with, but for the Audubon Society movement. The Audubon Society movement chose him as its symbol in the late 1800s, when the only things well known about him were based on a hagiography crafted by his descendants. He had nothing to do personally with the creation of the organization, being long dead at its formation. Unlike most bird names, changing that will represent quite a heavy lift of rebranding.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2021 10:02PM by Acer.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: June 08, 2021 09:58PM

I think the Hitler Hen deserves another look as well
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Acer
Date: June 08, 2021 10:06PM


Sorry for the Dilbert link, but this was back when the strip was funny and Adams was not.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: June 08, 2021 10:27PM
@#$%& like this makes a mockery out of things such as addressing monuments to the Confederacy and the obliteration of the history of enslaved people and their descendents. I hate this stuff because it gives the right wing plenty of fodder to make fun of being "woke" and "libtard" while serving no purpose in regards to moving forward to find proper responses to serious issues. It trivializes things.



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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: vision63
Date: June 09, 2021 12:46AM
Quote
hal
How far does this thing go? How about ancient Greeks and Romans? Many things named after those folks, many of them owned slaves. I'm pretty much content with letting the young generation decide these things. I don't see a need to change names of birds, but I'm an old guy whose opinion isn't really important.

[www.washingtonpost.com]

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 Bachman’s sparrow, Wallace’s fruit dove and other winged creatures 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. Some of these men stoked violence and participated in it without consequence.

Even John James Audubon’s name is fraught in a nation embroiled in a racial reckoning. Long the most recognized figure in North American birding for his detailed drawings of the continent’s species, he was also an enslaver who mocked abolitionists working to free Black people.

When 2 parties are fighting tooth and nail for the same swing voter, it doesn't help.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: June 09, 2021 05:53AM
> Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?

Many of them, yes.


How far does this thing go? How about ancient Greeks and Romans?

Should be examined on a case-by-case basis.

I think it's perfectly valid to rename species that were named after historic mass-murderers.



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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: June 09, 2021 08:24AM
Let the boffins sort it out. Or just retconn the story.

" Oh, that's not named after Robert E. Lee ... that's named after Robert E. Leeson, a famed ornithologist. We just ran out of characters for the name and shortened it. "
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: June 09, 2021 08:47AM
I think $tevie has a point ... there are some things that should be renamed, particularly things like streets and locations ... the fact that we have people of color down here, who would have to routinely walk down streets named after Confederate/slaveowner politicians and generals, is deeply offensive. We're still having serious trouble with the renaming of Lee Circle, as one example:

[www.fox8live.com]
[www.fox8live.com]

... as for the birds, I think you're discussing something somewhat esoteric to which relatively few would be exposed; on the other hand, it might be worth having a look at. Audubon is indeed a special case, here's a good essay on the subject: [www.audubon.org]




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2021 08:48AM by PeterB.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: June 09, 2021 09:48AM
Quote
PeterB
. Audubon is indeed a special case, here's a good essay on the subject: [www.audubon.org]

Excellent essay, thank you. Dr. Lanham is a fellow South Carolinian and I admire him very much.
[www.clemson.edu]

I agree with him, the (mostly) wealthy white people who fund the Audubon groups need to decide what they want to be.

PS; this conversation is also happening in the plant world, there is a push to rename plants with racially charged names, I'm all for it.

Is it the highest priority issue in the realm of racial equity and overcoming white supremacy? No of course not, but if you're Black and a botanist or an ornithologist it's your world and we need to make the changes. The fact that something is inconvenient or difficult can't be the reason for not doing it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2021 09:55AM by Lemon Drop.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: June 09, 2021 10:16AM
Quote
$tevie
@#$%& like this makes a mockery out of things such as addressing monuments to the Confederacy and the obliteration of the history of enslaved people and their descendents. I hate this stuff because it gives the right wing plenty of fodder to make fun of being "woke" and "libtard" while serving no purpose in regards to moving forward to find proper responses to serious issues. It trivializes things.

That and it's easy, and allows the privileged folks to point and say how they are "working" on something.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: kj
Date: June 09, 2021 12:43PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Quote
$tevie
@#$%& like this makes a mockery out of things such as addressing monuments to the Confederacy and the obliteration of the history of enslaved people and their descendents. I hate this stuff because it gives the right wing plenty of fodder to make fun of being "woke" and "libtard" while serving no purpose in regards to moving forward to find proper responses to serious issues. It trivializes things.

That and it's easy, and allows the privileged folks to point and say how they are "working" on something.

Similar to "diversity theater". I think it's important to assess in some way what effect the names of the birds actually has on racism. Does it actually do anything to promote it? Is it offensive to anyone (does anyone know enough to know how it could be offensive?). I think of a wilderness area I used to hike in. It was called the "Gospel Hump Wilderness" and in it were peaks like "Buffalo Hump". It took me a long time to realize the people who named this stuff were being middle schoolers. Then there is Squaw Butte. It was fine until the drive to educate people on the messed up meaning of Squaw. It gets tiresome, and I question the value.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: kj
Date: June 09, 2021 12:49PM
Also, if you read about how text books are published, and what it does to text when everyone in the world gets to have input about what is offensive, important, etc., as far as creating sterile, boring experiences, you have to wonder. The only real option is resorting to "bird1, bird2, etc.", and that's awful. It just is.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: June 09, 2021 01:06PM
Quote
Lemon Drop
Quote
PeterB
. Audubon is indeed a special case, here's a good essay on the subject: [www.audubon.org]

Excellent essay, thank you. Dr. Lanham is a fellow South Carolinian and I admire him very much.
[www.clemson.edu]

I agree with him, the (mostly) wealthy white people who fund the Audubon groups need to decide what they want to be.

PS; this conversation is also happening in the plant world, there is a push to rename plants with racially charged names, I'm all for it.

Is it the highest priority issue in the realm of racial equity and overcoming white supremacy? No of course not, but if you're Black and a botanist or an ornithologist it's your world and we need to make the changes. The fact that something is inconvenient or difficult can't be the reason for not doing it.

I'm reminded of the incident with the black birder in NYC. There's a real-life example of these issues coming to the fore, and what it must be like to be a black birder. There are efforts underway to change the situation:

[www.audubon.org]
[www.scientificamerican.com]

And yes, I know the plant world is full of all kinds of racially charged names ... [www.hoytarboretum.org]

... I would think that it will be far easier to change the name of a bird or plant species, than it would be to change the name of a monument or street. Scientists, as a whole, tend to be open to change, new ideas, and revisiting/reconsideration of subjects.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: vision63
Date: June 09, 2021 02:17PM
This is ALL distraction.

Nobody's life or living is in the breech here. Just a bunch of panties in wads.

In the meantime, a sneaky coup-attempt is being masterminded against all of the American people.

jeezusfukinchrist
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: June 09, 2021 03:21PM
Quote
vision63
This is ALL distraction.

Nobody's life or living is in the breech here. Just a bunch of panties in wads.

In the meantime, a sneaky coup-attempt is being masterminded against all of the American people.

jeezusfukinchrist

I could make a case that this directly impacts the living of a few people.

It's totally cool not to care about this, I dare say the majority of folks do not. We're getting kind of esoteric as we sometimes do here at MRF. No need to come over and yell at people who do care about it though.

There is no injury to The Cause.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: June 09, 2021 03:56PM
Quote
vision63
This is ALL distraction.

Nobody's life or living is in the breech here. Just a bunch of panties in wads.

In the meantime, a sneaky coup-attempt is being masterminded against all of the American people.

jeezusfukinchrist
Yes. We have let this coup sneak up on us for years and years and we are at the moment of truth. But sure, let's worry about bird names.



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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: June 09, 2021 04:15PM
Quote
$tevie
Quote
vision63
This is ALL distraction.

Nobody's life or living is in the breech here. Just a bunch of panties in wads.

In the meantime, a sneaky coup-attempt is being masterminded against all of the American people.

jeezusfukinchrist
Yes. We have let this coup sneak up on us for years and years and we are at the moment of truth. But sure, let's worry about bird names.

We'll talk about whatever we want on a hot summer afternoon.

Start a thread about "the coup" because I'm pretty sure nobody here has heard of Donald Trump or the threats to democracy. It never comes up.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: vision63
Date: June 09, 2021 05:36PM
Quote
Lemon Drop
Quote
$tevie
Quote
vision63
This is ALL distraction.

Nobody's life or living is in the breech here. Just a bunch of panties in wads.

In the meantime, a sneaky coup-attempt is being masterminded against all of the American people.

jeezusfukinchrist
Yes. We have let this coup sneak up on us for years and years and we are at the moment of truth. But sure, let's worry about bird names.

We'll talk about whatever we want on a hot summer afternoon.

Start a thread about "the coup" because I'm pretty sure nobody here has heard of Donald Trump or the threats to democracy. It never comes up.

I can't imagine something politically, more low priority than this kind of thing. This isn't going to house someone, put food in their mouths, a roof over their heads. Make it easier to get an education. It's just pissedoff people channeling their anger into something that gives them a momentary high.

At the same time, it just stirs the pot when we all need to come together. As many of us as possible. It's divisive, which is the worst part of it. Everybody doesn't have to agree on everything. We just need to agree on enough to form a decent coalition.

We really have to win over some of these fence sitters. We can't keep shedding seats in congress.
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Re: Do we need to change the names of birds that were named after people who owned slaves?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: June 09, 2021 09:10PM
Quote
Lemon Drop
Quote
$tevie
Quote
vision63
This is ALL distraction.

Nobody's life or living is in the breech here. Just a bunch of panties in wads.

In the meantime, a sneaky coup-attempt is being masterminded against all of the American people.

jeezusfukinchrist
Yes. We have let this coup sneak up on us for years and years and we are at the moment of truth. But sure, let's worry about bird names.

We'll talk about whatever we want on a hot summer afternoon.

Start a thread about "the coup" because I'm pretty sure nobody here has heard of Donald Trump or the threats to democracy. It never comes up.
If you think the best use of your time is to comb through ornithological books, Google every bird name, and figure out which ones are named for slave owners, knock yourself out. Because that's what these people are doing and it's called "@#$%&".



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