So, the Washington Post published a recent story with the following headline, "The racist legacy many birds carry."
Thank you to the heroes of @washingtonpost for highlighting the legacy of racist birds. We must decolonize those a… https://t.co/jwDSKzHppw— Gad Saad (@Gad Saad)1623802786.0
In fairness, it's not so much that the Post is saying certain birds are racist, as in wearing-red-MAGA-hats racist, which, of course, would be a cardinal sin of sorts:
Washington Post Racist Birds of America... https://t.co/kNZZfHHJMn— Ronna DeBrucki (@Ronna DeBrucki)1623736034.0
No, the Post's piece focuses on a debate on whether to change as many as 150 names of birds that "honor people with connections to slavery and supremacy."
More from the story:
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 Elizabeth Gray said in a statement in May, the Post reported. "Although we have begun to address this part of our history, we have a lot more to unpack."
The Post's story on the matter spans nearly 2,000 words, which no doubt involved a lot of effort. But the clear premise is the same as numerous other campaigns in the wake of George Floyd's death and the riots that followed over the summer of 2020: To cleanse the American landscape of any hint of past real or alleged racism, no matter how far removed from the present day.
And that involved toppling and defacing and removing statues of Founding Fathers, a push to scrub the names of not-woke-enough-figures such as — believe it or not — Abraham Lincoln from school buildings in San Francisco, and canceled sales of Dr. Seuss children's books.
Now birds must be renamed, apparently.
How are folks reacting?
Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired a very funny segment on the matter Tuesday night, which you can view at the bottom of this story.
Others did the best they could to also make fun of the growing controversy. Outspoken podcaster Adam Carolla presumably had the Post's piece in mind when he tweeted the following Wednesday:
A group of crows is called a "murder" and a group of ravens is called an "unkindness." Yet a group of owls is call… https://t.co/X3TJ3WI6hk— Adam Carolla (@Adam Carolla)1623855547.0
Others just couldn't help themselves, either:
- "Soon, we will only be able to refer to all birds as they or them. The @washingtonpost has too many researchers," one commenter wrote. "Parrots. There. I said it and I'm glad I said it."
- "A bird pooped on my car the other day. I thought that it was because I parked near a telephone line, but it was white supremacy all this time," another user quipped. "I'm so tired of all this oppression."
- "Birds are pretty racist... But not as racist as the combined hatred ducks and beavers have against the platypus," another commenter noted.
- "That bird with the racist look in its eye," another user observed. "You can totally tell!"
Here's Carlson's reaction:
Tucker: We must dismantle all systems of bird-supremacy youtu.be