Tags: sweden | bird | names | changed | racism

Sweden Bird Names Changed to Prevent Unintentional Racism

Image: Sweden Bird Names Changed to Prevent Unintentional Racism
Swift in flight on blue sky. (Dollarphotoclub)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 01:40 PM

Sweden's Ornithological Society has changed the names of several bird species out of fear of racism.

The organization recently completed a list of 10,709 Swedish bird names and also changed the names of about 10 birds, including some with “negro” in their names, The Washington Post reported.

"When working on the list, it became obvious that some older names no longer were appropriate," Anders Wirdheim, Communications Officer at the Swedish Ornithological Society, told The Post.

A bird named “Kaffer” was changed to “vitgumpseglare,” because kaffer resembles a racist term used in South Africa, The Independent reported. The “ZigenarfĂ„gel” bird, which translates to “gypsy bird,” was renamed “Hoatzin.” And a “Hottentott” has been renamed as the dabbling duck because the first name resembles a slur against the South African indigenous group Khoikhoi.

"We kept getting more and more questions from translators of Swedish TV programs and books wanting to know what exactly different bird names were or meant, so we decided to compile a list and while we were doing that we decided to change the names of any birds that could have stirred up a debate," Wirdheim said, according to The Local.

The changes haven’t sparked much debate in Sweden, The Local said.

“However, the news has reached far beyond our borders and most outraged reactions have come from abroad," Wirdheim told The Washington Post.

Twitter users shared mixed reactions.










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Sweden's Ornithological Society has changed the names of several bird species out of fear of racism.
sweden, bird, names, changed, racism
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2015-40-24
Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 01:40 PM
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