In an attempt to respond to a volcanic eruption of discourse around systemic racism and police brutality, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce masqueraded in a modern version of blackface.
Roughly a month after the murder of George Floyd last year, the nation’s leading business lobby held a national town hall on inequality with marquee names such as basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, television host Gayle King, and Howard University President Wayne Frederick. A couple weeks later, in an op-ed, Chamber President Suzanne Clark pledged to put the “collective muscle of American business behind an urgent nationwide push for equality of opportunity.”
The muscle came nowhere close to where the lobby’s mouth was.
As I wrote last summer, the town hall was a cruel mockery, especially as viewed through the lens of the health of Black and brown communities nationwide – and the Chamber’s contributions to that plight. After all, the chamber’s top known funders have included megapolluters Chevron and Dow. And it had opposed most climate change and environmental measures enacted by the Obama administration, cheered on most of the rollbacks of the Trump administ... Read more