Is cancel culture bugging you?
If so, this won’t help.
As reported NPR, insect experts are looking to pummel the problematic and take a big swat at bigotry.
A particularly pernicious winged creature — the lymantria dispar — hails from Europe, Africa, and North America.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources describes the species as “a serious forest pest…responsible for killing millions of oak and other species of trees across the state.”
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation notes, “[They are] known to feed on the leaves of a large variety of trees such as oak, maple, apple, crabapple, hickory, basswood, aspen, willow, birch, pine, spruce, hemlock, and more. Oak is their preferred species. … When outbreaks occur and populations are high (every 10-15 years in NY), thousands of acres of trees can be damaged.
Hence, the critters are crappy.
And that leads the world’s largest insect expert organization — the Entomological Society of America (ESA) — to determine the “gypsy moth” must be renamed.
It’s insensitive, apparently, to gypsies.
[But I thought “gypsy” was an inexcusable term, therefore there are no gypsies?]
NPR reports that “many scientific groups follow [the ESA’s] lead in referring to insect species,” so presumably a change will soon take hold.
ESA Director Chris Stelzig emphasized the importance:
“Words matter, and what we call something matters. And by using the former name for Lymantria dispar, it really was very hurtful to the Romani people.”
“The Romani people,” NPR explains, “are Europe’s largest ethnic minority and face discrimination.”
As I referenced above:
“Gypsy” is considered a pejorative term.
Renaming is all the rage.
Terms are going the way of the dodo bird like it’s going out of style.
In December, a California school dropped Lincoln’s name because he didn’t prove “black lives ever mattered to him.”
At UK hospitals in February, breastfeeding got renamed “chestfeeding” and fathers were converted to “co-parents.”
At Columbia’s medical school last month, women became “people with uteruses.”
Also in June, the Biden administration rechristened mothers as “birthing people.”
And in September of 2018, vaginas turned into “front holes”:
'Vagina' is not gender-inclusive language, use ‘front hole’ instead. Healthline says, using the medical term ‘vagina’ is not gender-inclusive language, uses ‘front hole’ instead. "It's imperative for safe sex guides to become more inclusive of LGBTQIA… https://t.co/UHwwr4FVy6
— popfn (@popfnfeed) September 17, 2018
Even so, a heroic bug that kills those troubling trees can’t bear the name “gypsy.”
And it isn’t just the moth getting a new moniker — there’s also the gypsy ant.
Speaking of, in May, nature took a nonbinary turn:
Just in Time for Mother's Day: The World Gets Its First Nonbinary-Named Insect https://t.co/3jqXw5j5ns
— RedState (@RedState) May 10, 2021
It’s a new world, and we’re not so much shedding terms as molting in order to become something transformative.
As for the old words, they’ll be left to roam the earth, I suppose, in search of new use.
But for Pete’s sake, don’t call them an incendiary name.
And perhaps I didn’t mean “Pete” — his name’s probably already been changed, too.
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