U.S. Effort to Help Black Farmers Fails


Handy Kennedy, a farmer in Cobbtown, Ga. Debt relief approved by Congress aims to make amends for decades of discrimination against black farmers. Photo Credit Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images.

The government passed a program to help black farmers last spring. It was four billion dollars to be spent over ten years. None of the money has been spent. It looks like it will not be available for a long time.

Groups of white farmers went to court. They said helping farmers of one race was illegal. It was a form of discrimination. Black farmers are not getting money. They are getting notices of foreclosure.

Many black farmers began to make investments in machinery and seed while waiting for the money. They are in debt deeper than they were before the promised money.

Courts in different states agreed that the program was illegal. Black farm groups say the Biden government is not doing enough to appeal the rulings.

What is at stake? The question of whether you can spend the money of taxpayers for one race is not settled. The Biden people worry that if they lose the case for helping black farmers it will affect other programs based on race.

The politics of race has an impact on the willingness of banks to lend money to the farmers. Banks were making loans based on assurances that federal money would pay for them. The banks and the farmers are now caught in the middle. And the foreclosure notices to the farmers are coming from the federal government and not the banks. The feds say they will not enforce the foreclosures.

Race is an issue that unites and divides America. There is no doubt that blacks have been the victims of prejudice. Enslavement for hundreds of years is a fact that will not go away. But the U.S. Constitution calls for “equal protection,” which means everyone is treated the same way. Color of skin or gender does not matter.

Source: The New York Times February 21, 2022


Do Banks Really Want to Help Black People?

May 21, 2021

Black farmers in America are now facing the wrath of bankers. The Biden government saw a way to help these farmers get out of debt. It wants to spend $4 billion over a decade to help with debt relief for them.

The number of black-owned farms is going down. There are fewer than 40,000 today. This number is down from about a million in 1920.

The United States Agriculture Department was the “Last Plantation” to black farmers. Black farmers claim years of bias against them. The new loans are meant to help right the wrongs.

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This is a good place to start if the U.S. wants to help blacks and other minorities by reducing inequality.

Can the wealth gap between black and white families become smaller?

Like most big federal spending bills, the money will cover a lot of bases. The banks oppose the one part of the bill that does something about wealth inequality. The median income of black families in 2019 was fifteen percent of white families ($24,100 compared with $142,500). The median difference in wealth Is even more significant.

Black farmers will have less debt and be richer by paying off the loans.

Another group of farmers is suing the government. Why? They say the program favors minorities over whites.

This program is an example of how hard it will be to make amends for the past. It is one thing to believe in making amends. It is another to have to pay for it.

Source: The New York Times May 19, 2021

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