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Nine Rules for the Woke Bird Watcher

(Slide 1: 9 Rules for the Woke Bird Watcher by J. Drew Lanham – Author, Professor, Poet, Bird Adorer

Slide 2: 1. Lower Your Binoculars. See Bird and Person in the full context of their being, feathers or skin.

Slide 3: 2. Leave Your Assumptions Behind. Don’t make snap ID decisions on birds or humans. Admire the whole. Respect the one.

Slide 4: 3. List Your Privileges. Know Your Range. Can you wander like a warbler without wondering who’s watching with suspicion?

Slide 5: 4. Be Bold. Speak Up. Identify racism as you would call out a crow among buntings. Silence lets the oppression grow unchecked.

Slide 6: 5. Let History Guide You. John J. Audubon didn’t care about black lives. Harriet Tubman knew the woods and wetlands well – she even used an owl call to identify herself to freedom-seeking souls. Let her be your wild bird, liberty-loving hero.

Slide 7: 6. Goodbye Clark’s Nutcracker. So Long, Bachman’s Sparrow. A bird tagged with some slave owner’s name had an identity long before… Try renaming by beak size, or behavior, song, sound, habitat ties, or color

Slide 8: 7. Dismantle Offensive Monuments. Watch the Golden Eagle soar over Mount Rushmore, and think of what was stolen, what once rose there naturally sacred before chisels made men into Gods. See the Peregrine Falcon circling Georgia’s Stone Mountain, the world’s largest shrine to white supremacy, then imagine that eyesore free of the treasonous rebels marring its granite face. Understand the power of exclusion.

Slide 9: 8. See Color. Painted Buntings don’t want to be plain. Blackbirds aren’t all the same. Neither are Black human beings. Respect and celebrate differences.

Slide 10: 9. Equity is a Hard Bird To Find. Diligently search for it in places with common ground. Listen intently to the stories of others, just as you would strain in the dim hours to discern the lisps of migratory birds overhead. Discomfort is growth.

-Dr. J. Drew Lanham)

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-Your Friends at Undoing Racism

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