Plain Talk: Discriminated for Decades, Black Farmers Deserve Relief | Dave zweifel
Biden Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack defended the debt repayment program at a briefing in May, saying coronavirus first aid had gone disproportionately to white farmers. He also said the government had never addressed the cumulative effects of years of racial discrimination against farmers.
“We know for a fact that socially disadvantaged producers have been discriminated against by the US Department of Agriculture,” Vilsack commented. “There is a very legitimate reason for doing what we are doing. “
In a New York Times article a few weeks ago about the wedge the aid program has created between white and non-white farmers, the WILL and Miller lawsuits have sown concern and anger through networks of black farmers.
Some have spent decades fighting unsuccessfully for their share of legal settlements over discrimination passed by the Agriculture Department. Now they fear that the money set aside for debt repayment will be delayed for years in legal challenges.
“We’re getting the short term,” John Wesley Boyd Jr., a Virginia bean and grain grower who is also founder of the National Black Farmers Association, told the newspaper. “Anytime in America, if there is money for black people, these groups are speaking out and saying how unfair it is. But it’s not unfair when they spit on you, when they call you racial epithets, when they tear up your candidacy.