(Liberty Bell) – Perhaps one of the most ridiculous cultural trends of the year (which is really, really saying something in 2020) is the tendency for large corporations or other entities to make completely arbitrary changes to branding or naming schemes in the name of equality…or something.
First, it was Aunt Jemima syrup.
Then, it was the Washington Redskins–I mean, Washington Football Team.
Not even the Land O’ Lakes butter lady has survived the branding bloodbath.
Now, the race to rename everything potentially racist ever has reached outer space.
No. Like, literally.
This week, NASA announced it would be banning the names Eskimo and Siamese from being used in the description of cosmic entities.
This, of course, is all part of an “ongoing reevaluation of the names by which we refer to astronomical objects.”
“It has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful,” the agency stated.
“NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The first major name changes were announced on Wednesday.
Just the News explains:
A Sun-like star that is blowing off its outer layers at the end of its life that was previously known as the “Eskimo Nebula” will now just be known by its alphanumerical ID NGC 2392, NASA said.
“Eskimo is widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the indigenous people of Arctic regions. Most official documents have moved away from its use,” the agency’s press release said.
Likewise, two spiral galaxies found in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster that previously were known as the Siamese Twins Galaxy will now simply be referred to as NGC4567 and NGC 4568, it added.
“These nicknames and terms may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them,” said Stephen T. Shih, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity. “Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so this means we must make it inclusive.”
Man, what will this year bring next?
Featured image credit: NASA Kennedy – flickr.com/photos/nasakennedy/14345798265/