The fight for reparations begins where slavery took place — on farms

A federal judge has sided with conservative organizations and white farmers suing to stop Black farmers from getting $4 billion in federal loan forgiveness. 

Here’s why that’s crazy.

Black farmers lost 90 percent of their land over the last century, and it happened due to systemic racism that was enabled and sometimes carried out by a federal agency called the US Department of Agriculture. 

White farmers got sweetheart loans and controlled local USDA boards that withheld federal money from Black farmers. In short, the USDA was a tool of racism that hurt Black farmers while benefiting whites. 

So why did white farmers sue to stop Black farmers from having $4 billion in loans forgiven to fix federal discrimination? And why did a federal judge side with those white farmers and stop the loan forgiveness?  

To paraphrase the late, great Rick James, racism is a helluva drug. 

First—a little history. In the 1950s, most of the USDA funding for farmers was handled through locally elected boards. Most Black farms were in the South, and since Blacks couldn’t vote there, those boards were all white, and they were dominated by racists. If Black farmers who needed federal money to grow crops or bring in the harvest joined the NAACP, or marched against segregation, or tried to vote, the local board withheld the money, the Black farmer went under, and white farmers got the land. 

In all, Black farmers lost about 12 million acres of land. And the discrimination didn’t stop there. Under the Trump administration, almost all of the $28 billion bailout for those affected by the China trade war went to white farmers.

That’s wrong. So, we’re all Black farmers today. And we stand with those who’ve been cheated, swindled, or starved out of their land—sometimes with the help of the government. That’s why the government must fix it. Give them the loan forgiveness they earned through blood, sweat and tears. Give those farmers the reparations they deserve
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