Ornithologists Advocate for Changing ‘Racist’ Names of Birds

The left’s targeting of historic names that are racist is ever-broadening and now include the names of birds, which the National Audubon Society is claiming honor people associated with slavery and white supremacy.
Sneha Cecil via Unsplash

The left’s targeting of historic names it deems racist is ever-broadening and now includes birds, which the National Audubon Society claims honor people associated with slavery and white supremacy.

As the Washington Post puts in its left-wing reporting, it took the hiring of a black ornithologist at its Georgia affiliate, Corina Newsome, to begin to “break down barriers.” But that effort will be “daunting” because “as with the wider field of conservation, racism and colonialism is in ornithology’s DNA, indelibly linked to its origin story.”

Now, according to the Post, white ornithologists are debating the possible name change of 150 birds.

The Post reported on the development:

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. Some of his behavior is so shameful that the 116-year-old National Audubon Society — the country’s premier bird conservation group, with 500 local chapters — hasn’t ruled out changing its name. An oriole, warbler and shearwater all share it.

“I am deeply troubled by the racist actions of John James Audubon and recognize how painful that legacy is for black, indigenous and people of color who are part of our staff, volunteers, donors and members,” interim Chief Executive at Audubon Elizabeth Gray said in a statement in May. “Although we have begun to address this part of our history, we have a lot more to unpack.”

Newsome said she felt uncomfortable when she had to don her Audubon-logo designed shirt.

“I felt like I was wearing the name of an oppressor, the name of someone who enslaved my ancestors,” Newsome said.

The society website also addressed the subject during Black Birders Week (May 31-June 5) where it reported Congress is getting involved in the effort to make bird study and watching more “inclusive:”

The federal government has a role in dismantling the systemic barriers faced by Black birders and other historically marginalized communities in accessing the outdoors. There are two bills in Congress that can help the movement to make the outdoors more inclusive by making access more equitable. Quality parks and recreational areas can reinforce the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, funding is needed to create these green spaces, and Congress has a role to ensure everyone has outdoor access.

On March 9, 2021, U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) introduced the Parks, Jobs, and Equity Act (PJE Act) to provide an historic one-time stimulus of $500 million for urban parks and recreational areas.This bill will support job creation, economic revitalization, and park development for communities impacted by COVID-19 and who have historically seen the least investment in green spaces in their areas.

The Park, Jobs and Equity Act would directly create 8,000 new jobs, add $1.37 billion to community economies across the country, and fund more than 1,000 new or upgraded local parks through a formula grant to states to fund local park projects. This funding can also employ the many benefits of natural infrastructure, like trees for climate resilience and carbon storage. The additional shade from trees in parks mitigates intensely hot temperatures from the heat island effect. Due to the way parks and cities are designed, this typically affects Black, Brown, and lower-income people the most, and the effects will continue to get worse if we do nothing to address climate change.

The Environmental Justice For All Act was reintroduced in the House and Senate this session and is meant to “support more equitable access” to parks and recreational areas, including bird watching venues.

The website encourages readers to “speak out for environmental justice.”

According to the Post, only two bird names have officials been changed so far.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to pstarr@breitbart.com

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