Category Archives: wokeness

Woke birders win: McCown’s Longspur renamed because McCown was a Confederate general (though he made contributions to ornithology and repudiated the Confederacy)

Five days ago I wrote about a campaign by two birders, operating under the name Bird Names for Birds, that had singled out a number of birds whose common names honored people who performed actions seen as odious or unsavory in modern lights. Those included John James Audubon, whose oriole may now be renamed because […]

Real estate goes woke with elimination of term “master bedroom”

This is one of those attempts to purge language that I’m ambivalent about. As argued in the New York Times article below and the Chicago Sun-Times article below that, the real-estate term “master bedroom,” which refers to the largest bedroom in a house or apartment—one usually occupied by the parents in the family or the […]

Trader Joe’s decides to keep “racist” brand names like “Trader Ming’s”

A while back I watched one of Mike Chen’s fantastic food/restaurant review videos (he’s one of the best food “vloggers” around), and, since he’s locked down and can’t travel or visit restaurants, he’s been devoting his videos to reviewing take-out foods and purchased foods. One was a review of all the dumplings available at Trader […]

Andrew Sullivan on postmodern “Theory”

Andrew Sullivan’s Weekly Dish, to which I’ve just subscribed, has his usual tripartite column, along with the “view from my window” series and a place where he reproduces and responds to readers’ beefs. (To his credit, he took a reader’s advice to heart and is giving up issuing tweets that “simply mock or provoke without […]

A letter in Nature accuses elite scientific institutions of “systemic racism”

Like many scientific journals and societies, the journal Nature is getting woker, larding its pages with letters and articles that often indict science or STEM for “systemic racism”. One letter, which appeared in Nature three days ago, is of that ilk. While it would be foolish to deny that there are bigots and racists working […]

John McWhorter on the Harper’s letter

Linguist John McWhorter doesn’t go along with the prescribed narrative of Critical Race Theory, and as an African-American he’s received his share of opprobrium for that. He mentions the pushback in his new piece in Quillette (click on screenshot), but characterizes it as coming with the territory, and sometimes even useful. More important, McWhorter explains […]

Cal State university system: all undergrads must take ethnic studies or socal justice course starting in 2023

I believe the Cal(ifornia) State University (CSU) system is the biggest state University system in the U.S., comprising over 430,000 students. On Wednesday, the CSU trustees voted that, starting in the academic year 2023-2024, all students must take either an ethnic studies course or a social justice course.  A related but slightly different measure, which […]

Welcome to Stalin’s Russia: cancellation demanded for New York professor who fell asleep during an antiracist Zoom meeting

There’s an anecdote I well remember from Solzhenitsyn’s great book The Gulag Archipelago, and one I just verified by a bit of Googling. After a speech either by Stalin or about him, the Russian audience leapt to its feet and began applauding wildly. To not join in was, of course, a serious mistake in those times of […]

In view of continuing racial disparities, should orchestras eliminate “blind” auditions?

After two black musicians accused the New York Philharmonic in 1969 of racial discrimination, the Philharmonic, and many other American orchestras, began auditioning prospective members behind a screen, so that neither the race nor the sex of the individual could be discerned. All that mattered was musical quality. (As I recall, women were told not […]

HuffPo denies that “cancel culture” exists

HuffPo, one of the biggest exponents of “cancel culture”, now has published one of its longest articles claiming that such a culture doesn’t exist. The piece is a long and unconvincing response to the letter published last week in Harper’s (and four other international venues). That letter was simply a call for open debate, and […]