By Leah Asmelash | CNN
After years-long dialogue, birds will now not be named after folks — a call meant to dissociate the animals from problematic eponyms.
The American Ornithological Society introduced Wednesday that every one frequent English-language names of chicken species named after folks shall be modified, together with different monikers which were deemed offensive. In whole, roughly 70-80 birds — primarily within the US and Canada — shall be renamed.
“There’s energy in a reputation, and a few English chicken names have associations with the previous that proceed to be exclusionary and dangerous right now,” mentioned Colleen Handel, president of the AOS, in a press release.
Many birds sport names that come from White males with “objectively horrible pasts,” in line with the group Chicken Names for Birds, a grassroots initiative that has been advocating for this variation. Having their names memorialized on this method is just like constructing a statue of their honor, the group argues.
The Hammond’s flycatcher, for instance, is called for William Alexander Hammond, a former US surgeon normal. Hammond held racist views towards each Black and Indigenous folks, writing that Black folks particularly had been of “little elevated in psychological or bodily colleges above the monkey of an organ grinder.”
Judith Scarl, the manager director and CEO of AOS, mentioned in a press release that there has lengthy been historic bias in how birds have been named, and scientists ought to work to eradicate that bias.
“Exclusionary naming conventions developed within the 1800s, clouded by racism and misogyny, don’t work for us right now, and the time has come for us to remodel this course of and redirect the main focus to the birds, the place it belongs,” she mentioned.
Although efforts towards renaming birds existed earlier than, the motion gained momentum in 2020, within the midst of large-scale cultural upheaval surrounding racist or in any other case offensive names — like these of sports activities groups and faculty buildings. That very same yr, Christian Cooper, a Black birdwatcher, made headlines after a White lady known as the police on him — highlighting a number of the prejudices Black folks face within the open air.
In 2021, the AOS introduced an ad-hoc committee to make suggestions concerning these frequent English names. The committee was shaped in 2022 and launched its steering earlier this yr. Wednesday’s transfer by the AOS is in response to these suggestions, and the renaming venture is about to start subsequent yr.
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