Anti-discrimination laws and lawsuits are meant to correct injustices. However, sometimes they draw out opportunists instead of righting a wrong.
The African American Agriculturalist Association asked for U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s resignation Friday citing “ongoing institutional discrimination” in the USDA, Breitbart reported. The non-profit group of black farmers is alleging this based on the incorrect distribution of a decades-old judgment.
Pigford v. Glickman was a class-action lawsuit filed in 1999 on behalf of black farmers who alleged the USDA was discriminatory in giving out loans. Though it was meant to rectify true discrimination, some politicians have treated it as de facto slavery “reparations.”
Vilsack was in charge of doling out payments from the judgment during his time at the USDA under former President Barack Obama. However, even the New York Times finally admitted that he and other political appointees unfairly allocated part of the $1.3 billion payout to undeserving parties who never experienced discrimination.
“We weren’t just writing checks for the heck of it,” Vilsack claimed at the time. “People were not treated fairly and, in fact, even today there are damages as a result of folks who weren’t treated fairly,” he claimed.
However, a recent news release from African American Agriculturalist Association is calling Vislak out for his alleged malfeasance. “Despite their steadfast organizing efforts, Black farmers still have not received justice from ongoing institutional discrimination within USDA,” the news release said.
“Due to the disastrous implementation of the Pigford lawsuit, most Black farmers were left with unconscionable debt, farm foreclosures, and with no legal recourse to save their family farms,” it went on. “Only 4 percent of the $1B settlement went to debt cancellation,” the organization noted and blamed Vilsack for failing to help the aggrieved parties who brought the lawsuit in the first place.
It’s unconscionable that the people hurt most by real discrimination have been ignored in favor of a politically-motivated distribution. What’s worse is that Vilsack allegedly used it as a slush fund for his own ideological ends.