So Asian carp are not to be called Asian carp anymore.

We are to refer to them as invasive carp from now on. Where did they come from? Asia, but you must whisper that so no one will hear you say it, and it would be a good idea to cover your mouth when you whisper it, so that no one will read your racist lips.

That’s right. Some people are offended that we call invasive carp from Asia in the United States, Asian carp. Some carp here are not considered invasive, even though they are from Asia, specifically from the Indian subcontinent. They are called Indian carp. It may be just a matter of time before that must not be mentioned either.

According to an Associated Press article, Minnesota State Sens. Foung Hawj (originally from Laos, in Asia) and John Hoffman in 2014 won approval of a measure requiring that Minnesota agencies refer to Asian carp as invasive carp after an Asian business delegation in Minneapolis had seen a sign calling for the killing of Asian carp, and found it “off putting.”

Other government agencies are doing the same in the wake of anti-Asian hate crimes that surged during the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reports. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed its designation to invasive carp in April and the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, representing agencies in the U.S. and Canada that are trying to contain the carp, plan to do the same on Aug. 2.

Hate crimes are wrong no matter who the target is. I’m one of those who believes stricter sentences should be applied to those who commit them. I’m disgusted and sad that Asian people have been attacked over the pandemic. Asian carp really are a problem, however, and they weren’t called Asian carp as some sort of racist slur. Some of these carp feed on endangered mussels and snails here, and eat up all the food other native fish need to survive. They have infested many rivers in the United States including the Mississippi River, and they are a threat to the Great Lakes – and they’re from ASIA!

They didn’t swim here from Asia just to mess with us, they were distributed here in the late 1800s by the U.S. Fish Commission with the idea they would be good to eat. About 100 years later, catfish farmers here in the South started importing Asian carp from China, which is in Asia, to clean their ponds, and Asian carp just kept multiplying and being let out into the wild, and/or escaped into it.

Five years ago alligator gar were being reintroduced in areas between Illinois and Tennessee to eat Asian carp, and in 2019 Kentucky started using electric devices to harvest some 5 million pounds of Asian carp out of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake.

The AP also reports that the change regarding what we call Asian carp comes 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 so as not to offend the Romani people, who officially rejected the gypsy name they and others used at their first World Romani Congress 50 years ago. No one seems to know how the gypsy moth got its name for sure, but one theory is because of how far wandering the moth larvae can be floating along on the wind. I think that’s kind of cool. Likewise, the gypsy ant is known to move a lot.

There’s no denying that the Romani people over the centuries split into tribes and have been on the move throughout Europe, North Africa, North America and South America, so it wasn’t really a racist reason to name the gypsy moth or gypsy ant that, was it?

I wonder what the gypsy moth and the gypsy ant will be named now instead? According to the latest genetic evidence, the Romani people originally came from Northwest India – Asia again. So we know Asian moth or Asian ant are not options.

There’s so many more animal names to change so we aren’t calling any attention to certain people or places: German Shepherds, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Irish Setters, Canadian Geese, Siamese Cats, Persian Cats, Siberian Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, American Robins, and Burmese Pythons … which brings us to “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” (1975).

Remember all the talk in that movie about the airspeed velocity of European Swallows and African Swallows? There isn’t even such a thing as a plain old African Swallow. There is a South African Swallow, and a West African Swallow, however. They just generalized and referred to those swallows as African Swallows. They better get busy overdubbing a new version of the film to get rid of all that insensitivity.

Steve Gillespie is editor of The Times Dispatch. Email him at

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