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For the Birds: Wokesters Want Audubon Society to Change Its Name. Because Slavery.

For the Birds: Wokesters Want Audubon Society to Change Its Name. Because Slavery.

So far, they have lost this battle: “We decided not to judge Audubon by modern standards”

For a group of people who claim they don’t want former president Donald Trump back in the White House, the radical woke left seems keen on doubling down on the exact radical policies and woke encroachment into our lives and culture that created a space for Trump in American politics in the first place.

Apparently reading George Orwell’s 1984 as a how-to manual rather than as the dire warning it was intended, regressive leftists assault our history and culture, battering away at everything from the innocence of our nation’s children to erasing history by dismantling statues to renaming . . . everything. They have been busily working steadily to an Orwellian Year Zero.

The latest insidious attempt to destroy a long-standing American “brand” (if you can stand the word, I barely can these days) is the on-going lobbying for the iconic Audubon Society to change its name because racism. Or slavery, I guess, since John Audubon, for whom the society is named, owned slaves over 170 years ago.

The Free Press reports:

For decades, the society has quietly protected birds, wildlands, and parks without getting anyone’s beak out of joint. But lately, members of this organization have got their feathers ruffled over a very human issue: race.

The problem is Audubon himself, who lived from 1785 to 1851, and owned at least nine black slaves who worked the family home in Henderson, Kentucky. “He also used enslaved people as assistants in the field while he was shooting birds to collect specimens,” adds Gregory Nobles, a biographer who says Audubon was dismissive of the abolition movement and frequently hunted in the South. “At one point, Audubon took two enslaved men down the Mississippi to New Orleans and sold them. I don’t know how you can spend so much time in close quarters with people and then sell both the boat and the men.”

Records show Audubon also robbed Native American graves and collected human skulls. Today, many consider him a racist even though some believe he may have been mixed-race, owing to a Creole mother, and passed himself off as white.

“Simply to say he was a man of his time and bore no responsibility on slavery is historically and intellectually a mistake,” Nobles asserts.

Now, some Audubon birders want the national society’s name changed. They believe a rebrand will help conservation because more people of all races will be attracted to the cause (although no alternative titles have been agreed upon). Opponents argue that changing the name means losing brand affinity. Most Americans—including big donors—associate Audubon with birds, they say, and changing the name risks the very conservation they seek to promote.

This is just insane. How on earth would anyone even know about Audubon owning slaves nearly two centuries ago if the Audubon people pushing this name change didn’t tell them? How can that possibly be relevant to their mission? And what do they think will happen? They’re suddenly ‘Birds Are Us,’ and all the black people will magically become conservationists? They were staying away because of some obscure historical factoid? Give me a break.

Anyone interested in conservation is already working in or for it, or donating to the Audubon Society because its name is synonymous not with a slave-owning historical figure but with wild birds.

Thankfully, the board voted against this needless crazy. The vote ended with board members quitting, and frankly, the Audubon Society is probably better off without such people. That said, the left never gives up. They never take a stab at something, fail, and then fall back on to the couch, shruggingly accepting a loss. They just keep going, fully expecting the rest of us to relent.

Surprisingly, perhaps, one voice of sanity at Audubon was that of a self-described progressive.

The Free Press continues:

. . . . the task force’s internal report recommended a name change. And yet—in a shock move—the board voted against it.

And though the board announced plans to devote $25 million to diversity programs, three board members resigned in protest over the decision to keep the Audubon name.

“He was a racist, a slave owner, he desecrated Indian burial sites,” Erin Giese, one of the board members who quit, told me.

. . . . Almdale, in Los Angeles, made it clear he was against the change both nationally and locally at his 800-strong Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society, posting about name changes on his chapter’s blog. His local club didn’t even take the debate to a vote, he told me.

“We decided not to judge Audubon by modern standards,” Almdale said.

He says the division isn’t red versus blue. It’s far-left versus center-left. And it’s more generational than racial.

“I’m basically a progressive,” says Almdale, who drives a Prius, voted for Hillary and Biden, and calls himself a Never Trumper. “I’m old, I’m white, I’m a man. So what? I’m angry. Audubon’s known for birds, for helping and enjoying them. If we change, what are we?”

He calls the battle over language a “divider” and “propaganda.”

He’s not wrong.

The Audubon Society and American Ornithological Society are apparently being besieged with petitions to change the names of birds. Of birds. Because “colonialism.”

Again from the Free Press:

But after petitions and a fierce online campaign, the American Ornithological Society officially renamed McCown’s longspur to the thick-billed longspur in 2020.

Today there are 155 North American bird names on a change list that “represent colonialism,” according to two ornithologists who started the list in 2020. That includes Hammond’s flycatcher, named after William Alexander Hammond, a U.S. surgeon general, and Townsend’s warbler, named after John Kirk Townsend, a Quaker naturalist who hailed from a family of abolitionists. The work of both men, according to a Washington Post op-ed written by the change list authors, led to the desecration of Native American graves.

“We cannot subjectively decide—especially if the adjudicators are White—that some names can be retained because they are associated with less abhorrent pasts than others,” the ornithologists Gabriel Foley and Jordan Rutter argued in their piece. “We must remove all eponymous names. The stench of colonialism has saturated each of its participants, and the honor inherent within their names must be revoked.”

All the eye rolls.

This insidious attack on our nation’s history and its historical figures can no longer be humored or tolerated. It’s (past) time to stop this nonsense in its tracks. Because we know from studying history or can surmise from reading 1984 exactly where all this leads. Nowhere good.

The dystopian hellscape the left has in store for us is taking form in blue states like California and in our biggest cities. Year Zero is not the beginning of some marvelous utopian paradise; it’s Aldous Huxley’s brave new world, the end of everything we know and love, of America herself. Enough is enough.

[Featured image via YouTube]


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The word ‘no’ is very handy.

The Gentle Grizzly | June 7, 2023 at 7:43 am

More variations on the the theme of the race hustle. These are the 21st century version of those who deemed “negro” racist but black is not. “Coloed people” is racist, “People of color” is not. Same with Oriental suddenly being racist.

As long as the general public submits to dancing to the tunes of the hustlers, this will not stop.

nordic prince | June 7, 2023 at 7:49 am

Language alert – is “enslaved people” the new thing? First time I’ve seen that. I suppose it’s based on the same reasoning that led to “people of color,” but why they’re pushing it escapes me.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to nordic prince. | June 7, 2023 at 8:38 am

    See my comment above about those who change terminology and expect the rest of us to dance to their tune. It is time to stop doing so.

      Whitewall in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | June 7, 2023 at 8:57 am

      I grew up hearing black people refer to other black people as ‘colored’. This carried on all the way until older blacks died off and it wasn’t that long ago. The term hung on until very recently in small NC and SC coastal towns. To an outsider this was unnerving for them and amusing to me.

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Whitewall. | June 7, 2023 at 9:19 am

        “To an outsider this was unnerving for them…”

        I can just hear some visiting Nice White Lady type saying “don’t they know this is racist and that they should be saying [insert latest jerk of the puppet strings phrase or word here]?”

        nordic prince in reply to Whitewall. | June 7, 2023 at 11:31 am

        My grandmother (who was white) always said “colored man/woman” when discussing the subject, and she was born in the early part of the 20th century.

        Furthermore, people seem to forget what the “C” stands for in NAACP….

          Whitewall in reply to nordic prince. | June 7, 2023 at 1:43 pm

          That C is a mystery isn’t it? My paternal grand parents were born in the NC foothills during and just after Reconstruction. You can imagine what they called blacks, pretty much like everybody did. Thought nothing of it. Sometimes my GF would use an African term to refer to them and it ain’t the N word.

      “dancing to the tunes of the hustlers”

      Compyling with their wishes.
      Giving in to their demands.
      Being their captive.
      Quite frankly, I’m wore out.

      “It is time to stop doing so.”

    Whitewall in reply to nordic prince. | June 7, 2023 at 8:38 am

    I think the ‘word smithing’ has to do with blacks being just fine until they wound up at the plantation. All of a sudden they became ‘enslaved’, meaning forced into work then and there. Never mind the slave trade originating in west Africa with blacks capturing their own people and selling them to trans Atlantic white buyers, ship owners, slave auctions and then finally to their destinations in S. America, the Caribbean or the southern US. the goal seems to be- don’t look too closely and don’t ask too many questions. More slaves wound up on the island of Cuba than were shipped to the southeastern US.

      GWB in reply to Whitewall. | June 7, 2023 at 10:03 am

      More slaves wound up on the island of Cuba than were shipped to the southeastern US.
      And look where that got ’em. Communism.

        Whitewall in reply to GWB. | June 7, 2023 at 10:56 am

        Curious ain’t it?

        retiredcantbefired in reply to GWB. | June 8, 2023 at 2:34 pm

        Fidel Castro and his inner circle ( think Che Guevara) despised black Cubans. They didn’t come to power because black Cubans wanted them.

    I’m sure they want you to use “enslaved people” interchangeably with “people of color,” the same way they use “poor” and “black” on the PSAs on the radio on Sunday mornings. But they really want to shutdown anybody who might mention that whites were also slaves in many cases.

    I think it’s an instance of trying to ensure there’s blame acknowledged when discussing slaves. “Slave” has no oppressor (except “slave master”, of course) so no real “put upon” where a finger can be pointed. “Enslaved people” is a way of encouraging the next question, “Enslaved by whom?”

    Which is a question they really should be careful asking. It doesn’t actually give the answer they are looking for.

ChrisPeters | June 7, 2023 at 8:03 am

I had been a contributor to the Audubon Society for years . . . until they sent out letters praising Biden and his supposed election victory before the matter had even been settled.

For me, enough was enough, and I haven’t sent a penny since.

    These groups just can’t help themselves. They have to get involved in crap way outside their wheelhouse, and it just hurts them. Stupid.

    Same here. I jumped ship when I tired of the unending “Climate Change is killing all the birds!!!1!” emails, and them adding “helpful” maps to each bird’s Audubon Field Guide page, showing and describing “How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the ___________________”.

    I still throw some support to the local chapter, usually in the form of volunteering, but I told them I’d never be a paying member again as long as the head office is pushing Leftist crap.

Audubon was also a taxidermist, and his bird drawings were of specimens.

smalltownoklahoman | June 7, 2023 at 8:20 am

Once they decide to hate on somebody that person has to be 100% purely irredeemably evil and can’t possibly be associated with or remembered for doing anything good, which is insane. The vast, and I mean VAST, majority of people are a mixed bag when it comes to the deeds they have committed in life, both good and evil.

    For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

      CommoChief in reply to Martin. | June 7, 2023 at 11:40 am

      We are all human and fallible. Unfortunately the lefties, by and large, don’t have much humility nor do they seem capable of offering any grace to anyone including the dead. It could be due to a lack of religious upbringing, if they never went to Church, Temple or Mosque as children and teens then the lessons won’t stick b/c they didn’t receive them.

      Personally I think the lefties just prefer creating chaos and using it as an opportunity to gain power. As others pointed out above they constantly shift terms and seek redefinition of old in order to prey upon our kindness. This way they can always accuse of an ‘ist or ism’, depending on our desire for civility to use against us and expecting us to fold in the face of the accusation of ‘ist or ism’.

The expression “ desecration of Native American graves” in connection with Audubon needs to be defined, or risk becoming an addition to the Orwellian Woke lexicon. If it means something amounting to vandalism, fair enough, but it appears more likely that Audubon could be said to have been engaged in Anthropological research. Otherwise, Mary and Louis Leakey may be relabeled by the Woke, not as great scientists, but as “ desecrators of Native African graves”.

“regressive leftists” . . . nice turn of phrase.

texansamurai | June 7, 2023 at 9:07 am

wonder if the birds care ?—akin to asking selected families of ancient lineage to change THEIR names because “racism” or “colonialism” or “white supremacy” , etc.

bullshyte–just “no”

“About 30 birdwatchers travelled to the island to see the unusual visitor, which has only been recorded five times in the UK since 1950. However, they then saw it die after colliding with the wind turbine.”

Ordinarily, the death of such a rare visitor would result in wall to wall coverage in today’s emotional response fuelled reporting, but because a wind turbine was involved….


During the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, food often became hard to find in China, so people simply ate the birds. Today, there are few, if any, birds in some areas of China.

They’re suddenly ‘Birds Are Us,’ and all the black people will magically become conservationists?
Not their intent, at all. It’s just a purge to purify the Church of the names of all heretics, apostates, and heathens.

Of course, the solution may be to adoption the system used to name stars.
For instance, GJ 3522.

I’m sure in time “GJ” will become to be known as a racist pair of letters.

“he desecrated Indian burial sites,” Erin Giese, one of the board members who quit, told me.”


He didn’t use the proper Politically Correct term for “Native Americans”????!!!!

CANCEL HIM!!!!!!!!!!

The proper answer to these lefty woke weirdo demands to change names is to tell them to pound sand. Thank them for their prior support and wish them well in creating a new organization which doesn’t have the historical baggage that makes them so uncomfortable. Then tell them to leave.

2smartforlibs | June 7, 2023 at 12:32 pm

Woke washing isn’t going to change history.

For birders, it was important to find, see and …if possible… photograph the bird. Then, that got diluted by some to just hearing the bird as being the same. All of this is “childish” but when 18 and 19 year olds are children for gun control and 25 year olds are still children for 0bamacare… who’s to say when adulthood starts…. Ask Julia I guess.

E Howard Hunt | June 7, 2023 at 2:03 pm

These race hustlers know how to feather their own nest. Well, they can just get the flock outta here. I flip them all the bird.

Judging people from the historical past by modern standards is ridiculous. African slaves in the Americas themselves came from cultures that considered slavery and the slave trade perfectly normal. Even they would not have judged slave-holding whites as we would judge them today. If they hadn’t been sold to white people, they would have been sold to brown or other black people. Does anyone care to argue that they held special animosity for white owners, and would have found being owned by brown or black people peachy-keen?

I’m waiting for the NAACP to rename themselves NAAPOC.