The slow-moving oppression of a sprawling government bureaucracy
July 25, 2019 12:47 PM   Subscribe

How USDA distorted data to conceal decades of discrimination against black farmers: "Here, we present Nathan Rosenberg and Bryce Stucki’s two-year investigation into the ways agricultural census data were distorted to depict a fictional renaissance in black farming. This false narrative inflated USDA’s record on civil rights and further hurt black farmers—the very people the department claimed it had made historic efforts to help." [CW: racist language.]
posted by jocelmeow (5 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
When we asked Vilsack how farming could be made more equitable, given such large racial disparities in land ownership, he rejected the question’s premise. “As far as the big versus small argument,” Vilsack said, “I really get irritated by those questions. Questions like that divide people and, god, we’ve got enough of that in this country.”

What can you even say about these fucking people? This is a disgrace.
posted by grandiloquiet at 12:53 PM on July 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

This is an excellent podcast episode about discrimination at the USDA.
posted by kokaku at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

The degree to which my wealth as a white person is funded by cheating and stealing from black people, past and present, is appalling. I'm excited to hear more and more talk about reparations, but until this kind of sub rosa systemic BS stops, it's plugging holes in a dam that needs to be totally rebuilt.
posted by spindrifter at 3:02 PM on July 25, 2019 [8 favorites]

There are some horrific quotes in here. Here's Vilsack's assistant secretary of civil rights talking about a 37-year veteran of the USDA who was specifically asked to unretire to help deal with civil rights complaints:

Wright’s “only claim to fame is hating USDA,” Leonard later told us. “Lloyd’s not a professional, he’s a farmer, whereas I’m a professional,” he said. “He could run amok. I can’t run amok.”

I knew there had been a lot of discrimination against black farmers but these numbers and stories are ridiculous. Black farmers received 0.86% of total loan money during Vilsack's years. And this was under the Obama administration, I doubt it's any better now
posted by JZig at 8:04 PM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

USDA Gave Almost 100 Percent Of Trump’s Trade War Bailout To White Farmers. $8.5 billion in subsidies have been distributed through the Market Facilitation Program to offset Trade War losses, 99.4% goes to non-Hispanic white farmers.
posted by peeedro at 7:09 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

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