Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In "post-racial America" Black Farmers are still casualties of Partisan Politics

After taking a long break, Off K Street is back to ponder, question, comment, opine, and address issues of injustice and absurdity that affect large cross sections of our community.  To that end, one that issue that has received increased attention over the last few months but continues to be under-reported, the Federal Government's complicity for years of discrimination in the USDA Farm Loan program of Black Farmers. 

All the way back to just after the Civil War, Black Farmers have struggled to till out a living from the land.  Hoping to be paid, not just fairly but be compensated at all, for their labor in the fields that were worked by slaves and then as sharecroppers, Black Farmers were hopeful that their day of justice was at hand.

Unfortunately, the same partisan politics that has derailed the latest jobs bill and extension in Unemployment Insurance, has also stalled the $1.25 Billion settlement to Black Farmers from years of discrimination from the USDA Farm Loan program.  

This brings up another point, in the spirit of less government and cutting the size of the Federal Budget.  The Environmental Working Group has been tracking Farm Subsidy payments for several years now, of which the lion share going to "Corporate Farms."  The EWG has a great web based tracker where anyone that is interested can find out who and how much is being doled out to Corporate Farms

In a supposed "post-racial" America, why is this still an issue?  It appears that Black Farmers are being teed-up to be used as a sound bite as we get closer to the 2010 Mid-Term Elections.  The GOP continues to be deaf to racial, social, and economic justice and the Democrats are being obscenely opportunistic.  This is just wrong.  The entire Congress should just let this issue be voted on as a stand-alone bill and be done with it.


  1. It looks like Obama and the Democrats are a little deaf to real racial issues.

  2. In what way? It seems that both times, the Henry Louise Gates incident (which Obama overreacted when he didn't have the whole story) and the latest with Shirley Sherrod (Vilsack with Dept. of Ag), they went overboard with trying to show they will address all/any forms of discrimination the same. But again, they didn't have all the facts.

    But how does this relate to the settlement with Black Farmers, where it was proven the Fed Gov't discriminated against them for years (well before Obama and even GWB were in office)?

    This issue is all about politics being played by both Democrats and Republicans, where they should be voting on a stand-alone bill for the settlement payment. This post has nothing to do with the Obama Administration or Democrats being deaf to real racial issues? So, what are you refering to? The plight of the middle aged white guy?