Magazine article Mother Jones

Black Gold?

Magazine article Mother Jones

Black Gold?

Article excerpt

HERE'S A SHORT LIST of people on the front lines of climate change: the residents of Tuvalu, the Maldives, and other island nations facing rising oceans; the Arctic Inuit, whose food supply and way of life is threatened by melting sea ice; Africans at risk from even more devastating droughts. What do they have in common? Answer: They're all people of color. In the United States, too, "unemployment and economic hardship associated with climate change will fall most heavily on the African American community," according to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

So why, then, does the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the nation's most storied civil rights groups, organizer of the Freedom Rides and the 1963 March on Washington, attack those who want to curb global warming? ExxonMobil, which in 2003 gave CORE $40,000 ($15,000 was earmarked for "global climate outreach"), would obviously like to avoid any appearance that its products and policies are a slow-moving assault on poor people of color. How better than to turn the accusation around? In that bit of public relations jujitsu, CORE has been most useful. To those familiar with CORE'S recent history, its allegiance to ExxonMobil comes as no surprise. In 1968, Roy Innis seized control of CORE and moved the group to the far right, Innis has been accused by founder James Farmer and other black leaders of renting out CORE'S historic reputation to corporations like Monsanto and ExxonMobil. …

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