The Sierra Club, a progressive environmentalist group, acknowledged its racist history on Wednesday morning. In an article titled "Pulling Down Our Monuments," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune writes the San Francisco Bay Area environmentalist group has caused "significant and immeasurable harm" over the organization's 128-year-old history.
"As defenders of Black life pull down Confederate monuments across the country, we must also take this moment to reexamine our past and our substantial role in perpetuating white supremacy," writes Brune.
The people toppling confederate statues aren't "defenders of Black life." They're vandals causing spikes in coronavirus cases -- a disease that disproportionately kills black people -- while completely ignoring and dismissing the exponentially larger number of deaths due to black-on-black crime. But getting back to the white supremacy of the Sierra Club...
Brune writes about the racism of the group's founder, John Muir. According to Brune, "Muir maintained friendships with people like Henry Fairfield Osborn," a man who helped found the American Eugenics Society. Muir was also known to hold racist views regarding blacks and Native Americans.
As bad a Muir was, it wasn't just him supporting white supremacy and the eugenics movement. Others like Joseph LeConte, a U.C Berkeley professor who expounded theories about the racial superiority of white people, and David Starr Jordan, a Stanford University president, racist and eugenicist, were early Sierra Club leaders who served on the board of directors.
With such a horrible track record on the issue of race, one would think the Sierra Club would have learned by now to stick with tree-hugging and leave the subject of race well enough alone. But no.
"For all the harms the Sierra Club has caused, and continues to cause, to Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, I am deeply sorry," writes Burne. "I know that apologies are empty unless accompanied by a commitment to change. I am making that commitment, publicly, right now. And I invite you to hold me and other Sierra Club leaders, staff, and volunteers accountable whenever we don’t live up to our commitment to becoming an actively anti-racist organization."
Brune says the Sierra Club will redesign its leadership structure through reverse discrimination "so that Black, Indigenous, and other leaders of color at the Sierra Club" will "make up the majority of the team making top-level organizational decisions."
The Sierra Club should throw race-based policies in the trash bin where they belong. But environmentalists like recycling too much to do that.