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Sat Jun 20, 2020, 10:47 AM

'I can't even enjoy this.' #BlackBirdersWeek organizer shares her struggles as a black scientist.

A news item from the careers section of Science:

‘I can't even enjoy this.’ #BlackBirdersWeek organizer shares her struggles as a black scientist.

This week, black scientists and recreational birders flocked to Twitter for #BlackBirdersWeek. “Nature is my favorite place to be, & I’ve been fortunate enough [to] use my PhD to travel & be #BlackInNature across the world,” tweeted a graduate student.

The first-of-its-kind event was organized in response to an incident that transpired in New York’s Central Park last week. Christian Cooper—a black man who works as a writer and editor and is an avid birdwatcher—encountered a white woman who was walking her dog while he was birding. When he asked her to leash her dog, she called the police, telling them that an African American man was threatening her. A video of the encounter went viral—unleashing a torrent of discussion about racism and the dangers black people face when they are simply enjoying, or working in, outdoor spaces.

For black scientists in field disciplines such as ecology and geology, Cooper’s experience was a familiar one. Many are sent to remote places to conduct fieldwork—and that can land them in uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous, situations, says Corina Newsome, a master’s student at Georgia Southern University who studies seaside sparrows in coastal marshes. “I’m in these remote, expansive natural areas, and in the South no less, and so my family is … always scared for my safety.”

She and others organized #BlackBirdersWeek to highlight the stories of black people in the outdoors...

...Q: How did you all come up with the idea for #BlackBirdersWeek?

A: The idea came from a group that I’m a part of, which includes probably 100 black people who enjoy the outdoors—either as scientists or outdoor enthusiasts. When the incident happened with Christian in Central Park, one of the members who's actually an economist—she's in mathematics—messaged to say that we need to do something to celebrate black birding. It took off from there; it came together in literally 48 hours. We designed events to highlight the experience of black people, the existence of black people, the work of black people, and to open dialogue.

We were motivated to do that because the incident in Central Park was something that all of us, at some point and in some shape or form, have experienced. But it's never been recognized on such a level...

There are more "Karens" - far more - than those of whom we've heard.

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Reply 'I can't even enjoy this.' #BlackBirdersWeek organizer shares her struggles as a black scientist. (Original post)
NNadir Jun 20 OP
Cracklin Charlie Jun 20 #1

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jun 20, 2020, 10:54 AM

1. She can come to my yard and watch birds anytime.

We’ve got a lot.

Owls, bluebirds, turkey vulture, wrens, crows, mockingbird, and this week, baby cardinals!

Anytime. I’ll even make some sweet tea!

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