Good to see America’s still trying to tackle the hardest issues of our time.
I hope completely destroying the life of anyone who ever said “Asian carp” is next.
Minnesota state Sen. Foung Hawj was never a fan of the “Asian carp” label commonly applied to four imported fish species that are wreaking havoc in the U.S. heartland, infesting numerous rivers and bearing down on the Great Lakes.
But the last straw came when an Asian business delegation arriving at the Minneapolis airport encountered a sign reading “Kill Asian Carp.” It was a well-intentioned plea to prevent spread of the invasive fish. But the message was off-putting to the visitors.
Hawj and fellow Sen. John Hoffman in 2014 won approval of a measure requiring that Minnesota agencies refer to the fish as “invasive carp,” despite backlash from the late radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, who ridiculed it as political correctness.
“I had more hate mail than you could shake a stick at,” Hoffman said.
Now some other government agencies are taking the same step in the wake of anti-Asian hate crimes that surged during the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly changed its designation to “invasive carp” in April.
“We wanted to move away from any terms that cast Asian culture and people in a negative light,” said Charlie Wooley, director of its Great Lakes regional office.
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, representing agencies in the U.S. and Canada that are trying to contain the carp, will do likewise Aug. 2, he said.
The moves come as other wildlife organizations consider revising names that some consider offensive, including the Entomological Society of America, which this month dropped “gypsy moth” and “gypsy ant” from its insect list.
Yet the switch to “invasive carp” might not be the final say. As experts and policymakers have learned in their long struggle against the prolific and wily fish, almost nothing about them is simple. Scientists, technical journals, government agencies, language style guides, restaurants and grocery stores may have ideas about what to call them, based on differing motives — including getting more people to eat the critters.
Song Qian, a University of Toledo environmental sciences professor who teamed with Kocovsky on the article, said carp is a valued protein source in many Asian nations. It’s a good-luck symbol in his native China.
“If you say it’s invasive, bad and needs to be eradicated, even though it’s because of miscommunication, that’s why there’s talk about cultural insensitivity,” Qian said.
It’s most accurate to refer to the fish species individually, he said, acknowledging a collective name is sometimes convenient. The challenge now is finding the right one.
Regardless of which one eventually sticks, said Hawj, the Minnesota legislator, who immigrated to the U.S. from Laos as a child refugee after the Vietnam War, he’s glad “Asian carp” is on its way out. He recalled the warm applause he received at an Asian-American conference after announcing his state had made the change.
“It’s a nuisance, a small thing, but it can resonate greatly,” he said.
It’s about time people recognized the fact that goldfish and koi are disgusting carp.
No matter what you think about the name – at least the discussion is in the media.
People who flush their goldfish down the toilet instead of cleaning the bowls frankly have no idea of the threat we face from these disgusting and inedible fish.
I don’t know the answer to the “backyard pond” question, but it’s a discussion we need to have as a society.
Anyway, yeah – ban VICE News for calling them “Asian Carpocalypse.”