UC Davis Study: Names That White Males Gave Fish Are Racist

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This sounds fishy… researchers at University of California, Davis have turned to fish for their racism studies.

Published online in late July, the study argues that calling some fish “rough” or “trash” is a racist term that comes from “white males’” dominance of freshwater fisheries in North America for the past three centuries, according to Campus Reform.


Four of the researchers — two from UC California, Davis, one from University of Oklahoma and one from University of Wisconsin-Madison — are paid, six-figure professors at their respective public universities.

These four professors received $583,652 in collective annual salaries. Here is how it breaks down: UC Davis paid the two professors a combined $311,123 in wages (FY2019). The Oklahoma and Wisconsin professors were paid a collective $272,529 (FY2020). All pay records are publicly posted online at OpenTheBooks.com and are the latest year available.

Over the year-and-a-half this study was done, additional research was done by an unpaid professor emeritus at UC Davis, a UC Davis postdoc researcher, a UC Davis PhD candidate, a researcher from the private University of Notre Dame and researcher with the non-profit Nature Conservancy.

The researchers argue that since white males have valued only select types of fish and dominated the management of freshwater fisheries, the native fish faced discrimination. These native fishes, the study says, historically fed Black and Indigenous people of color and immigrants.

There is a “bias against ‘rough fish’ — a pejorative ascribing low-to-zero value for countless native fishes,” the study states. “One product of this bias is that biologists have ironically worked against conservation of diverse fishes for over a century, and these problems persist today.”

These problems include allowing overfishing of native species, which leads to a decline in their population, the study said.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

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