Date: 12/26/20 10:09 am
From: Carolyn Marsh <camarshbird...>
Subject: [IN-BIRD-L] A Black Birder's Ramble Through the Thicket of Opinion (no sighting)
*FYI, this article is now online. Carolyn A. Marsh, Whiting, IN*

*Bird Conservation magazine of the American Bird Conservancy* Page 14

*A Black Birder’s Ramble Through the Thicket of Opinion **on Social
Movement and Bird Conservation*

*by J. Drew Lanham*


*From the grassroots level, we must recognize that in many ways, birding,
ornithology, and wildlife conservation writ large bear some of the same
racist ills that the larger society does. Cases in point were all the
birding listservs that excluded any mention of BBW [Black Birders Week] as
distractions or being “too political.” This is birding at its worst, an
exclusionary, elitist activity that sees itself above and beyond any fray
except arguing over gull identification. It’s a frustrating blind spot I’ve
frequently observed first hand as folks refuse to drop their binoculars for
a moment to see the larger context around them. This has to change. Many of
the organizations responsible or associated with those dismissive attitudes
and actions found themselves “outed.” Perhaps not the place you want to be
if inclusion and diversity is a goal... *

*Use grassroots to line the nest.*

* This has to be recognized and reckoned with on every level, from the
largest NGO to the smallest bird club, to the individual who thinks that
all birders are “woke.” Calling it out where it occurs is important. The
historical racism has to be called out when discovered (or known) just as
present bias is. Iconic names will be tarnished with the truth. John James
Audubon, John Bachman, John P. McCown, and likely more to come who may even
bird among us now. There is no “sin” in earnest striving. There is
corruption, though, in silence. See something. Hear something. Say
something. Find the established white folks out there doing the hard work
and taking the risks. Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman are two of the exemplars
who’ve bravely stepped forward, at times at great costs of friends and
funding. Work locally with your own birding group to make the difference at
home. Use grassroots to line the nest.*

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