You would think that the Bachman’s sparrow and the Wallace’s fruit dove would be the least controversial creatures on earth. But it’s not the birds, it’s the people they were named after that’s generating the controversy. Alfred Russell Wallace actually has 4 other birds named in his honor — and each of them may be called something else before too long.
Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, and anthropologist who is credited, along with Charles Darwin, of conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection. But his writings are apparently filled with references to the “N” word. Despite his numerous accomplishments and contributions to science, he must be canceled for the sin of thinking like most other white people at the time.
“Conservation has been driven by white patriarchy,” said J. Drew Lanham, a black ornithologist. Has it been “driven” by “white patriarchy”? Or is it that whites organized most of humanity to protect the natural world when no one else did? It’s not “patriarchy.” It’s common sense.
Admittedly, whites went about the task of cataloging and studying the natural world like typical racists of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. That’s when most of the nomenclature for animal species was applied. Some pretty despicable people have lent their names to the lexicon and perhaps the issue deserves serious study.
What the issue doesn’t need is the hysterical caterwauling of those who claim injury from a bird name.