Are bird-watchers racist?

The National Geographic Magazine, a publication heretofore not noted for satirical excellence, has published an article that easily could have appeared in The Onion.  In Colorful World of Birding Has Conspicuous Lack of People of Color, author Martha Hamilton engages in hand-wringing and navel-gazing (yes, they can be done simultaneously, and for all I know, this might be good exercise) over the relative lack of “people of color” (as opposed to the colorless majority) out looking for exotic avian life. I kid you not:

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2011, 93 percent of American birders were white, 5 percent were Hispanic (which includes both blacks and whites), 4 percent were black, 1 percent were Asian American, and 2 percent were "other."

The horror! If people do not do every recreational activity in exactly the same proportions, we are suffering from racism. For some reason, people who claim to “celebrate diversity” want every group to behave exactly the same. And we know who is at fault. Naturally, there have been groups formed, meetings held, and activism activated in order to combat the racism and microaggressions which surely must account for statistical disparities:

The meetings have covered a range of reasons why minorities may find it hard to embrace birding, including concerns about how onlookers might react to seeing a black or Hispanic man with binoculars wandering the woods—or a suburban neighborhood—at dusk, dawn, or night. (snip)

Conference speakers have also cited lingering fears about racism in the U.S.—like whether it's safe to go to areas where the Ku Klux Klan had been strong, or where militias still thrive—and, for some who grew up in cities or suburbs, a fear of the unfamiliar woods, full of critters.

Hamilton manages to connect this phenomenon to…wait for it…global warming!

But at a time when birds are facing unprecedented challenges to their existence from climate change and increased urbanization, developing more diversity among birders will broaden support for measures needed to protect birds—plus the nesting grounds, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and other habitats in which they thrive, and in which birders delight—while also helping to create more citizen scientists, which would be a boon for everyone.

Wind farms and solar power stations are conspicuously absent from Hamilton’s list of threats to birds. Given the vast numbers of our avian friends chopped into pieces and incinerated by these tax-subsidized boondoggles, that strikes me as dishonest.

But then again, I must be a racist and a denier.

Correction: I also have terrible eyesight, which caused me to misread Orion as Onion. I have removed a reference to the author quoting The Onion and apologize

The National Geographic Magazine, a publication heretofore not noted for satirical excellence, has published an article that easily could have appeared in The Onion.  In Colorful World of Birding Has Conspicuous Lack of People of Color, author Martha Hamilton engages in hand-wringing and navel-gazing (yes, they can be done simultaneously, and for all I know, this might be good exercise) over the relative lack of “people of color” (as opposed to the colorless majority) out looking for exotic avian life. I kid you not:

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2011, 93 percent of American birders were white, 5 percent were Hispanic (which includes both blacks and whites), 4 percent were black, 1 percent were Asian American, and 2 percent were "other."

The horror! If people do not do every recreational activity in exactly the same proportions, we are suffering from racism. For some reason, people who claim to “celebrate diversity” want every group to behave exactly the same. And we know who is at fault. Naturally, there have been groups formed, meetings held, and activism activated in order to combat the racism and microaggressions which surely must account for statistical disparities:

The meetings have covered a range of reasons why minorities may find it hard to embrace birding, including concerns about how onlookers might react to seeing a black or Hispanic man with binoculars wandering the woods—or a suburban neighborhood—at dusk, dawn, or night. (snip)

Conference speakers have also cited lingering fears about racism in the U.S.—like whether it's safe to go to areas where the Ku Klux Klan had been strong, or where militias still thrive—and, for some who grew up in cities or suburbs, a fear of the unfamiliar woods, full of critters.

Hamilton manages to connect this phenomenon to…wait for it…global warming!

But at a time when birds are facing unprecedented challenges to their existence from climate change and increased urbanization, developing more diversity among birders will broaden support for measures needed to protect birds—plus the nesting grounds, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and other habitats in which they thrive, and in which birders delight—while also helping to create more citizen scientists, which would be a boon for everyone.

Wind farms and solar power stations are conspicuously absent from Hamilton’s list of threats to birds. Given the vast numbers of our avian friends chopped into pieces and incinerated by these tax-subsidized boondoggles, that strikes me as dishonest.

But then again, I must be a racist and a denier.

Correction: I also have terrible eyesight, which caused me to misread Orion as Onion. I have removed a reference to the author quoting The Onion and apologize