A federal judge has told the Biden administration that it can’t withhold money from Americans on the basis of their race after a group of farmers challenged a new debt relief program that only gives money to “socially disadvantaged farmers.”
While the government being prohibited from discriminating based on race seems like an elementary concept codified in the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Biden administration is having trouble with the idea.
Section 1005 of Biden’s American Rescue Plan of 2021 says, “[T]he Secretary [of Agriculture] shall provide a payment in the amount of up to 120 percent of the outstanding indebtedness of each socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.” Socially disadvantaged is defined as any farmer who is “Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander.”
The problem is, the program doesn’t just give preference to farmers “of color,” it also specifically excludes white farmers. As a result, Milwaukee District Judge William Griesbach said that white farmers who filed suit against the program are likely to succeed in their challenge.
“The obvious response to a government agency that claims it continues to discriminate against farmers because of their race or national origin is to direct it to stop: it is not to direct it to intentionally discriminate against others on the basis of their race and national origin,” Griesbach wrote.
According to the court, “The loan forgiveness program is based entirely on the race of the farmer or rancher.”
Griesbach noted that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided the financial benefits “without actually considering the financial circumstances of the applicant.” He added the “only consideration in determining whether a farmer or rancher’s loans should be completely forgiven is the person’s race or national origin. Plaintiffs are completely excluded from participation in the program based on their race.”
Kelly Griggs, a Tennessee farmer, told Fox News,
“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…. My reaction is, Where did common sense go? We can’t strike. We can’t stop. That’s the part that really sucks. These people in Washington who make decisions for us and our livelihood have probably never stepped foot on a real farm.”
The USDA responded to the court decision by stating, “We respectfully disagree with this temporary order and USDA will continue to forcefully defend our ability to carry out this act of Congress and deliver debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers. When the temporary order is lifted, USDA will be prepared to provide the debt relief authorized by Congress.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack argued that the “cumulative effect” of previous discrimination against minority farmers was “never absolutely dealt with.”
Attempting to solve prior discrimination with more discrimination seems counterintuitive to an American society which is built on the principles of equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
What makes the policy more troubling is that financial status was not even considered. Minority farmers who are doing well financially would be eligible to receive the funds while a white farmer who is about to lose their farm is ineligible. How does that achieve the equity for which the left says it strives?
To understand such a policy one must understand the concept of “antiracism” that the radical left ascribes to. In writing for Forbes magazine, Evan Gerstmann quoted antiracism “expert” Ibram X. Kendi, who explained the strategy of the ideology:
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
This is the irrational, circular philosophy that governs the Biden administration, not only in racial matters, but in every facet of life. Farming or energy seem like curious places to infuse the ideologies of critical race theory and antiracism, but the Biden administration is on a crusade, and it must be understood as such. The left is showing nothing short of religious devotion to the cult of antiracism, which translated into real-world practice means discriminating against and even punishing white people for the sins of some past white people while granting benefits to minorities because of the suffering of some past minorities.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because there was past discrimination does not mean the United States needs an overhaul of every facet of society that actually promotes discrimination against whites. In the left’s topsy turvy world, however, that’s just what we’re getting, and it is not virtuous. It is illegal and it is immoral.
In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns, many farmers across America are struggling financially. Yet to the race-obsessed left, race is the only issue that matters. Rather than enacting policies that intentionally discriminate against whites, why don’t we ask other questions like: Why is billionaire Bill Gates now the largest owner of farmland in America? Or how are government regulations hindering farmers? Or what policies can we pass that will allow small family farmers, many of whom are minorities, to better compete with large corporate farmers?
As farmer Benji Anderson of Georgia said of the program, “I think it should be distributed to everyone. Because one thing we all have in common, it doesn’t matter about color or race or whatever, we’re all farmers, all working together to feed the United States.”