Okay, Who Told The Wingnuts About The Help For Black Farmers
Oh dear. The wingnut mediasphere found out about the $5 billion in debt relief and other aid going to farmers of color in the American Rescue Plan, and they're simply aghast at how terrible it is that money will be going to help Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous farmers who faced decades and centuries of official discrimination, because it's just sooo unfaaaaair. As we noted last week, it's not like there's ever been any discrimination in the USA, unless you count little things like the systematic swindling of Black farmers for most of the last century, as Mother Jones has summed up:.
By the 1910s, nearly a million Black farmers, a seventh of the nation's total, owned 41.4 million acres of land, mostly in the South. That turned out to be a peak. Since then, due largely to lingering white supremacy and the racist machinations within the Department of Agriculture, the number of Black farmers has plunged by 98 percent. The remaining few managed to hold on to just 10 percent of that hard-won acreage.
But that's neither here nor there, insist the great egalitarians of rightwing media, because if there's one rule in America, it's that nobody should benefit because of their skin color, and that nothing is now owed to those who were systematically discriminated against by the US Department of Agriculture even into the late 1990s. After all, slavery ended a long time ago!
Also, please nobody mention that 99 percent of the agribusiness handouts to offset Donald Trump's trade war with China went to white farmers, because it's racist of you to notice who did and didn't get that $24.5 billion.
Media Matters has a fine sample of reactionaries reacting to the provision in the COVID relief bill, because the past is the past and you should just get over it, except for how Confederate statues are sacred relics that must never be removed because why are you trying to erase history? The only history that needs erasing is that of discrimination, don't you see?
On a recent "Fox & Friends" segment, anchor Brian Kilmeade talked to a white farmer, David Kay, who found the very idea of historical discrimination very disturbing, because this is America where everyone is equal. Kilmeade asked Kay, "How shocked were you to find that the color of your skin would be working against you when it came to your job?"
Kay was, you may be astonished to learn, plenty shocked! He explained he didn't "think that they should get breaks like that," and that if Black farmers ended up deep in debt after the USDA screwed them over by holding up aid that was processed quickly for white farmers, well that's the breaks, and people in debt shouldn't get help, since working their way out of a hole will "make people appreciate what they're doing better." Mostly, though, he was upset that the provision "targeted just the Blacks," and no, he probably wouldn't appreciate being reminded that debt relief is also available to Latino, Indigenous, or Asian-American farmers, because he's not one of them, either.
In a FoxNews.com piece, a white farmer from Tennessee griped that
Just because you're a certain color you don't have to pay back money? I don't care if you're purple, black, yellow, white, gray, if you borrow money you have to pay it back. … Where did common sense go?
Maybe he should check with the purple people so beloved by all the nice non-racist white folks who don't see color.
Reputed pee drinker Todd Starnes was predictably outraged, because nothing's more racist than helping victims of past racism, and what's with this crazy "farmers of color" stuff, as if such people even exist.
"Farmers of color" get $4 billion bailout to pay off their debt. White farmers get nothing. They say it's reparatio… https://t.co/OxPyykxZUv— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) 1615486967.0
Gosh, considering that a "conservative estimate" of the value of farmland transferred from Black to white ownership since the early 20th century runs around $300 billion, we'd say $5 billion is a heck of a bargain. But that's because we don't understand equality.
Here Comes the Holy Shit Racism
But those previous examples, and the others in the Media Matters roundup, all pale in comparison, as it were, to the rampant racism of wingnut "comedian" Steven Crowder, who somehow still has a monetized YouTube channel. On his Tuesday resentmentfest, Crowder, wearing a gun in a shoulder holster because that's how you keep a video studio polite, hilariously called Joe Biden "former Vice President Joe Biden" — get it? — and expressed all sorts of racist wonderment at the very idea of nonwhite people being farmers, especially Black people, since they all live in ghettos and burn down cities. He even had a very funny, not at all racist "American Gothic" parody to illustrate the people who'd be "most happy" about the spending. What a silly idea "Black farmers" is!
They do not own the farmhouse, they are burning it, ha! ha! Crowder also made a very funny show of pretending to slip and say the funds were "allocated exclusively for colored farmers — Farmers of color! Farmers of color!" He still can't get used to all this crazy "politically correct" and "woke" language!
Here's the clip, via Media Matters:
Oh, and the funny imitations of how all Black people talk!
Crowder (high pitched screaming): I'm 'onna buy a plow, man!
Dave Landau (racist Ed McMahon second banana type): I'm gonna plant dat corn!
Crowder: Gonna buy a John Deere! Barack Obama, motherfuu -- I'm tha president of plowin' dat ass.
Then Landau observed, putting on his serious sociopolitical analysis hat, "I thought the last thing they would want to do is be farmers. Wasn't that a big problem for hundreds of years?"
Crowder, his finger ever on the pulse of What Black People Like, then made jokes about Arsenio Hall and basketball, and then he and Landau riffed about the difficulty of growing trees by planting bottles of Hennessy cognac. "Turns out the soil concentration is a high concentration of meth!" Then 74-year-old Jimmie "Dy-no-mite!" Walker called in to suggest they dial it back a bit.
These fellows are too smart for Joe Biden. They know things about Black people, which is that they are not even farmers! After all, they all have gold teeth, big velvet hats, platform shoes, and drive 1975 Lincoln Continentals Mark IV, is what they know. You would get a big car like that stuck in the dirt if you even tried to tow a disc harrow with it! (We are sure Mssrs Crowder and Landau would consider this unfair, countering that many Black people prefer 1975 Cadillac Eldorados.)
We're especially impressed by the extremely smart historical commentary throughout. A clip from "Democracy Now!" mentioned that the US Commission on Civil Rights "confirmed as long ago as 1965 that the US Department of Agriculture discriminated against black farmers, but little was done to address the problem," prompting Landau (we think; the voice is offscreen) to exclaim, "A hundred years ago!"
This will surely come as a surprised to the litigants in Pigford v. Glickman, the 1999 class action lawsuit against the USDA for discriminating against Black farmers from 1981 through 1996. The settlement in that case was nearly a billion dollars, with a second agreement in 2010 to pay an additional $1.2 billion for additional claims of discrimination.
Then again, 1999 was a whole century in the past, so why are Black people still so upset about racism, which as Steven Crowder aptly demonstrates, no longer exists in our great country? After all, he didn't say the N word even once.
[Media Matters / Rural Advancement Foundation International / Media Matters]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.