October 29, 2011 1 Comment
With a recent judicial decision a $1.2 billion dollar government settlement for black farmers moved another step towards a realized gain and closure for the affected parties.
The USDA’s Civil Rights History is far from being even close to a level playing field when dealing with this nations black farmers. For decades they were collectively denied any assistance or Loans, while their white-counterparts had no problems with assistance or loans.
This case was originally filed in 1997 as thousands of these unfortunate farmers were penalized for trying to earn an honest living via farming in America’s Heartlands for themselves and their families.
President Barack Obama said, “This agreement will provide overdue relief and justice to African American farmers, and bring us closer to the ideals of freedom and equality that this country was founded on”.
The head of the National Black Farmers Association via CNN, stated, “So many farmers had given up hope that this would ever come to pass”. While it will now take about one year to review and access the farmers after this is done these fine men & women will receive their long overdue justice.
Unfortunately black farmers now only make up 1% of our nation’s ranches and farms. This was not the case in the 1920 period when black farmers constituted 14% of US farms and ranches.
It is profoundly saddening that Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (once a Tea-Party favorite) voiced the opinion that the settlement was a waste of federal money, along with other Republicans. Bachmann also said, ” When money is diverted to inefficient projects, like the Pigford project, where there seems to be proof-positive of fraud, we can’t afford $2 billion (she was only off by $800 million and still painfully misguided) in potentially fraudulent claims when that money can be used to benefit the people along the Mississippi River and the Missouri River”.
Here we are in the 21st century and still past misdeeds regarding this countries treatment of it’s black citizens via various means of discrimination are still being dealt with and not yet completed near the end of 2011.
So many affluent voices are heard that affirmative action and racial prejudice are things of the past in our history? Seriously,,,, Lynchings of unfortunate blacks were still occurring in 1967 with regularity, hate crimes still occur today.
I’m 52, white (caucasian) and I don’t think it that much of a past history issue for me. My older sister was Literally Kicked out of the state of Florida by the authorities for dating a black man in 1967.
My parents I later found out where also threatened with jail terms, this occurred when my sister went to a convenience store to get a soda. My parents had apparently been charged with making sure that my elder sister was never out of their sight. Yet she innocently went to the store to get a soda pop which was about four blocks from our home and my parents were threatened with jail.
My father a white man had a top-secret security clearance as he supervised the construction of parts for the USA’s growing nuclear arsenal. He could never talk about what he did at work which was very strange, however a small little piece of information was finally found out, nuclear bomb parts were his trade. We were Very middle class with private schools and never were without food or the latest clothing or household items.
It was not until I was 10 years of age I even found out that my elder sister existed. She just happened to visit while not warmly accepted by my father, imagine my surprise. Here was this very nice articulate, intelligent and funny person, my sister (an accountant by trade), why did it take an accidental meeting for this family heirloom to arrive in my life.
Well my sister dated black men and had married a wonderful black man named Marvin and they had two children Lisa & David, two beautiful outstanding children, now adults.
Racial disparities still surround us in our prisons and jails where blacks are over-represented because of unfair sentencing guidelines and extremely poor legal representation, yes some are criminals, however this does not explain the racial disparity found in our legal system.
In the workplace having just retired from a fortune 250 company at the age of 52 -wanting to live the rest of my days as I want to and being financially able to do so- from my own observations prejudice is still rampant. I know of white-supremacists in my own large metropolitan city and have friends who are prejudiced at an alarming rate, it’s quite disturbing.
Imagine my surprise when in the 1980’s my beautiful niece came to visit Florida. We were both the same age group ( I was a year older) she was so beautiful on the outside and the inside and we became fast friends, my Niece who was held from me for so many years. I still recall the time my best friend said, ” Who’s the N***** with you?”. My anger was immediate and in no uncertain terms I made him aware to never speak that word again around me.
So no one in this day and age should turn their back on Any of our fellow countrymen or women. Nor should they try to say that racism isn’t still very prevalent as many would like us to believe. Maybe some day in this country People will just be that People, however for now this is still not the case, especially in the south.
Kudos to these farmers and I am quite sure the monetary amount does not make up for the treatment they endured.
For the few who might read this maybe you might consider giving our fellow citizens a fair chance be they Black, Indian, Latino, Mexican or any other race they are all human beings. They are all just humans trying find their way in life and to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Is this not what we all strive for, so before you make a racist comment about anyone or prejudge them because of the color of their skin maybe you could reflect and then Think-Before-You-Speak.
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