How did the demographic of today’s farmers become over 90% white? The stereotyped, rootless connection between Black communities and farming we see common today, is it real?
Similarly to yoga, a practice which overtime has also become white-led in America today, farming, too, is a deeply rooted practice within POC ancestry that was not redirecting costs back to its oppressors; and in turn, was removed through systemic, colonizing, and capitalist processes–not only from the lives of those who practiced, but from further generations to come. 98% of Black agricultural landowners in America were dispossessed from the 1950s forward. This was a timeframe where Black people were highly concentrated in the South, and now, with barely any land to show for it.
My great grandmother who recently passed away had her own farm in Mississippi, as well. My mother would tell me about the luscious watermelon she grew. Until, her farm was tainted and all crops were lost.
“One day, her crops just weren’t doing well. She went to check on the issue and found toxic pesticides on her crops. This wasn’t the first time. Nor was it an uncommon experience in her community. All she wanted was to feed us, her family” – Robin Grant
Black people today are the demographic with the least amount of owned land. Just last week I went to a farm and it was owned by a white man. When I asked him how he got so much space, he responded with “I just bought it.” If it is as easy as “just buying land,” then why does the data recorded across racial demographics say otherwise?
“White administrators often ignored or targeted poor Black people–denying them loans and giving sharecropping work to white people..” – Eji.org
In the process of attempting to fight losing claimed land, Black farmers were denied loans amidst tax and partition sales on their land that could’ve prevent foreclosure by white-controlled and federally funded committees. Black farm owners were eventually forced into foreclosure, where wealthy white landowners took over. 12 million acres were lost due to foul play of “legal mechanisms,” discrimination, and violence.
Farmland, particularly along the Mississippi River was stolen from the Native’s and then used as grounds to exploit African slaves, in which they continued to tend to post-emancipation before being dispossessed. The great depression seemed to be the perfect opportunity for “governmental authority” to strip the land of, again, marginalized people, never to be returned. Now, today over 95% of the farmers in the US are white, or white identifying. Are we seeing a similar situation with COVID-19 and the rising stock and housing market?
Is the “rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer,” a result of the people, or have these “legal guidelines” always been a weapon against the white-inferiority complex.