NOTE: this post is co-authored by Alan Septoff, who tweeted the image in question, and Jennifer Krill, Earthworks executive director
Last weekend, Earthworks carelessly re-posted an image on Twitter that promoted classism and transphobia. It was wrong for us to have posted this image, and we apologize to our community.
We want to say a little bit of background about how this happened, because I think that there is little point in learning a lesson if you can't articulate the lesson you learned.
We are writing this post for public consumption, because the initial offensive image (warning: linked for context only) was posted publicly.
The image was making a point about oil companies receiving enormous government subsidies, something that Earthworks aggressively opposes. Without much analysis, we posted the image on Twitter on a weekend day, and went back to what we were doing with our families. No offense was intended.
Extractive industries, when left unchecked as they usually are in the US and internationally, are oppressive to communities who live in their midst, and governments should not be subsidizing such oppression.
But you can't fight oppression with more oppression. And there are systemic forms of oppression, some of them stemming from extractive industries, others from income inequality, others from corporate dominance, and some from fear and distrust.
The resulting classism, racism, homophobia and climate injustice are something we should all oppose. At the same time, it's not always easy to spot oppression. Just as people living next to oil wells breathe invisible toxic pollution; people living in a world with classism all too often do not see the pervasive impacts. And just like oil wells, sometimes the impacts of social oppression are so overwhelming that we find ourselves intentionally turning away from many impacts so we can focus on those things that are within our immediate power to change.
But that doesn't justify ignoring oppression. We do not need to insult or oppress others in order to make our point about extractive industries, and that is how we will be operating from now on.