Monday, May 16, 2022
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Monday, April 18, 2022
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Just the other day I was conversing with a longtime advocate for racial justice, especially justice for Black farmers, and I quipped something like, "You know what's going on, don't you?" Of course he knew what was going on. But, "What?" he replied. "We are experiencing a white lash, a reaction to all of the things going on in the world."
I went on to tell him what I thought were evidences of the white lash. We've had a Black president, now a Black V-P, we have Blacks represented in congress, various agencies in the government, and some think that Black people are stepping out of line. "What more do you want?" I can hear some say.
The white farmer lawsuits that stopped debt cancellation is one sign. Another set of signs is the proliferation of Critical Race Theory laws across the country. All of the voter suppression laws going into place across the country constitute a third set of signs.
What do we want? Justice, fairness, equality under the law and the constitution, no more, no less.
So, here are a few words to "Dear White Farmers:"
"I knew you were watching and waiting. You knew all along about the race-based remedies for bias and discrimination in the USDA. I think you were waiting for a time and a leader to pounce. You found that leader in Stephen Miller, a lawyer, a Jewish lawyer, who helped Trump craft various policies around immigration and who knows what else. A staffer for a US senator confirmed today that they saw it coming as well.
Your attorneys know about the host of documents and studies that confirm racism within the USDA all the way back to 1962, all the way up through CRAT and CRIT, the Jackson-Lewis Study, and others. That's just for the legal background. It's all found in other writings here on this page and over on the ewg.org website.
Then, you pounced once the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law. You saw that $1B was allocated for debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and so you pounced. 'Reverse discrimination,' you cried in feigned disbelief that you, white farmers and ranchers of our land who also work hard and find yourselves in debt (or do not find yourselves in debt), and so you played the 'reverse discrimination' card. It worked. Some 12 or 13 lawsuits have stopped the debt relief effort. Yes, we believe that Secretary Vilsack slow-walked that process for over 100 days, ample time for you and your leaders to move into attack and defend mode. Yes, we saw it and the senator saw it.
However, some of us know your games. The first six litigants of the white farmers cases pulled in $540K in subsidies, coronavirus relief funds, and Trump's failed tax war with China. The counties in which those farms and ranches are located pulled in $1.2B. So, you want to talk about reverse discrimination? Looks to me like you've done quite well for yourselves, if those first six are anywhere close to a representative sample of all of you. You get the main course and Black farmers get the scraps. The data is out there for you and the world to see.
I have a few more questions for you, as you claim reverse discrimination.
Mr. White Farmer, have you been set up to purchase a farm at a high appraisal value so that you'll lose it and the next guy over will buy it for pennies on the dollar? Ever been denied operating loans? Ever been denied debt settlement options? Had your diaster and crop payments illegally seized? Lost out on a productive crop because the county office stalls the process so that while others have planted their crops, you are just now getting your seed in the ground? Ever been spit on or called racist names or been told to wait several days while other farmers come in and out of the director's office? Ever been told that there's money there, but not for you? Ever been told that you and your kind don't need that much land even though the land is from several generations of your family back years and years? Ever been denied technical assistance? Ever been provided half of what you need to farm too late in the planting season? Ever had the county officer demand that you submit your application in pencil so he can change it to what he wants? Ever had a farm operating plan cash flow when you submit it, only to find out when it had been reworked that it no longer cash flowed? Ever been caught in a colusion between banks and real estate agents? Ever had the local office renege on loans so that you couldn't pay for seeds or fertilizer? Ever run out of money so that while your cotton crop is ready for harvest, you don't have enough money for diesel to harvest it, and nobody will loan you that much money? Ever been denied farm ownership loans despite years of working the farm? Ever lost out on prime opportunities because the county office dallied in getting your loans to you? Ever been micromanaged when you actually got money? Ever worked under a supervisory arrangement so that you spend all day getting signatures for a $50 piece of equipment that you could have purchased and fixed by mid morning? Ever had the county office renege on lease arrangements? Ever had your leased land pulled out from under you by the county office and given to the officer's good friend? Ever been denied legitimate debt relief options that are available to all farmers and ranchers? Ever had your credit and your good name destroyed by the county office's malfeasance? Ever been denied disaster relief funds that go to all farmers around you? Ever been told, 'we're going to sell you out?'
I didn't think so, Mr. White Farmer. I really didn't think so. You know it and I know it.
Senator Warren had some great ideas, and put them into a constructive Black Farmer Policy. Senator Booker picked that up. When Senator Warnock was elected, he took over the lead on the initiave. Senator Warnock got Section 1005 and 1006 written into the ARPA of 2021, but he had the language changed from 'Black Farmer' to 'Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher.' The game changed. Lawyers took over and seized upon a 'race based remedy' and took it way far afield.
There is no doubt that a lot of people have been mistreated by the powers that be. But as a group, White Farmers, you have had the advantages from the get go. The USDA system works the way it has always been designed to work. Check out Dr. Daniel's book, "Dispossession," if you doubt that assertion.
So, until you, Mr. White Farmer, have experienced the kind of discrimination that Black farmers have experienced, until your case has been investigated, until you have a set of findings that prove your case, then you can sit down and shut up about reverse discrimination. It's all in your heads and in your hearts. It's a part of your entitled whiteness. That is a desease for which cures are hard to find.
Waymon R. Hinson, Ph.D. Researcher, Advocate, Film Co-Producer"
Yes, we are in the midst of a white lash. These law suits are a part of it. Black farmers are still losing their land or dying. In some families both are happening.
Sunday, March 27, 2022
Friday, March 11, 2022
In an attempt to situate a little further the materials that I posted about monuments, lynching, and land loss, here is a quote from an article I wrote in 2018 about what lynchings were all about.
"In the decades following the Civil War, an era of violence erupted, not unlike that of the infamous “patrollers” in slavery days in which black mobility and freedom attempts were met with violence. In particular, lynching was used to instill terror in the black population. Two sites contain the most thorough information on the history of lynching in America. The initial work of Monroe Work (n.d.) for the decades following Reconstruction lists the names of 4,800 plus and the work of the Environment Justice Initiative (n.d.) between the years 1877 and 1950 provides chilling information about the 4,400 plus African Americans who were lynched. According to Hahn (2003: 425–427), these mob executions or lynchings were symptomatic of the tensions between whites and blacks, as the former used this form of violence in an attempt to maintain power, as blacks exerted their rights. Hale (1998: 203, 204) emphasized lynchings as public spectacle as “structure, a sequence and pace of events” that went from allegations to mob violence following scene preparation, mutilation and/or hanging, and souvenir collecting, among other variables. Tolnay, Deane, and Beck (1996: 811) explored lynching from a spatial perspective—how lynching in one community impacted the same in another community. Their “deterrence model” of lynching is supported by evidence that whites ceased lynching activities when they were satisfied that the results would cause blacks to be “even more circumspect in their interactions so as not to provoke violent responses.” Young (2005: 641) focused research not upon numbers, nor spectacle, but upon the black body as souvenir." --- page 908.
The complete article can be found at Hinson, W. R. (2018). Land Gains, Land Losses: The Odyssey of African Americans Since Reconstruction. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 77, 893-939. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajes.12233