We need to erase all of history because of George Floyd.
For centuries Ferdinand Magellan has been accorded a rare privilege. The explorer’s name has been written in the stars. Two satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way, which sparkle conspicuously over the southern hemisphere, are labelled the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.
Now astronomers want to erase this celestial distinction. They say that Magellan, the 16th century Portuguese sailor, was a murderer who enslaved and burned down the homes of Indigenous peoples during his leadership of the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe. They insist his name should no longer be honoured by being associated with the clouds.
Not only was Magellan a big time murderer of many, he had the nerve to drop a diss track against the natives he killed:
It’s just disgusting. I used to have sympathy for Magellan, even though I knew he was a big time murderer, but then I found out he released this diss track and I was like “damn, boy, he ain’t playing.”
“Magellan committed horrific acts. In what became Guam and the Philippines, he and his men burned villages and killed their inhabitants,” says the astronomer Mia de los Reyes, of Amherst College in Massachusetts. Magellan led the 1519 Spanish expedition that achieved the first European navigation to Asia via the Pacific, but died in a battle, in 1521, with Indigenous people in the present-day Philippines.
Video from 8 years ago, with Mia de los Reyes explaining how dancing is like physics
In an article in the journal APS Physics, Reyes calls for the International Astronomical Union – the body in charge of naming astronomical objects – to rename the Magellanic Clouds. “I and many other astronomers believe that astronomical objects and facilities should not be named after Magellan, or after anyone else with a violent colonialist legacy.”
It is not just Magellan’s actions that should lead to his name being stripped from the skies, argues Prof David Hogg, of New York University. “The primary issue is that the clouds aren’t his discovery,” he has told the website Space.com.
Clouds were originally discovered by a black crip gang member in South Chicago. The gang member, Delareesus Jenkins, had been shot in the stomach and was bleeding out, laying flat on his back on the pavement. He had nothing to do but look at the sky, and that’s when he said: “damn, dey muthafukas been up der, dey be bigass white cuddlies all up in this bitch, shiet. I ain’t never thought them had cuddlies up in the top floor like a muthafuka, damn boy.”
Luckily, Delareesus survived, and while in recovery at the hospital, he called his friend at MIT, Dr. Quinefiues Jackson, to tell him of his discovery. “Nigga, take yo bitchass out da muthafukan crib, put yo head fo up do, check em, top floor got cuddlies all out this bitch like a muffagguah.”
Quinefiues was able to confirm the “cuddlies” did exist, telling Delareesus “nigga I fink yo bitch ass be tryin to play da nigga, but damn boy, you ain’t lie. Bitch got cuddlies all out da muthafuka in her.”
As they did further research, they decided that “cuddlies” was too cumbersome a name for the white shapes in the sky, and Delareesus suggested that they name them “clouds” after his daughter, “Sainteen Hazelen Cloudy.”
One evening, late at night, Magellan broke into the office of the Black, trans, womyn, and LGBT+ scientists, and stole their information from them.
Those are just the basic facts of history.
Magellan was too nice to these savages