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Pigford Settlements: Where Are the Asian-American Farmers?

Pigford Settlements: Where Are the Asian-American Farmers?


The U.S. government used the Pigford class action lawsuit to dole out billions of taxpayer dollars in settlements to aggrieved minority and women “farmers” who claimed “discrimination,” but farmers from one minority group–Asian Americans–have conspicuously not alleged “discrimination” in order to receive government handouts. 

As the New York Times–vindicating Andrew Breitbart in the process–thoroughly reported, a 1997 class action lawsuit by nearly 400 Southern black farmers somehow metastasized into what amounted to a government giveaway of billions of taxpayer dollars to those who may have never even farmed, let alone been discriminated against. 

The Times reported that some families had even had five-year-old children apply for $50,000 settlements. Government officials admitted that black, Hispanic, women, and Native American “farmers” received payouts even though there was no way they could prove they had actually suffered some type of discrimination.

Those who have defended the Pigford payouts have rationalized them by citing specific instances of discrimination against black farmers as far back as 1930, even though the original case involved black farmers who alleged discrimination between 1981 and 1996. Apologists have claimed that even if the black “farmers” who received settlements could not prove discrimination, the payments could be looked at as a form of reparation. 

There is plenty of history of legalized discrimination against farmers of Asian descent, as well. 

Because white farmers in California saw Japanese farmers as threats, even though Japanese farmers farmed on land whites did not feel was the most desirable, California passed the Alien Land Act of 1913, which prohibited “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning agricultural land. 

Seven years later, another “Alien Land Act” was passed to prevent immigrants from even leasing land. The Acts were passed to exclude Japanese farmers, but also impacted other immigrant groups like the Chinese, Koreans, and Indians. 

While government officials, along with lawyers eager to get easy fees, actively engaged in various forms of outreach to Hispanic farmers in Central California and Texas in addition to Native American and women farmers, they seemed to have just not bothered to reach out to Asians, even though they are more of a minority than blacks or Hispanics. 

As Breitbart News’ Lee Stranahan reported, Pigford workshops are still drawing huge crowds even after the Times report, but those workshops seem to lack Asian-Americans.

The grievance industry has either done a terrible job of identifying Asian “farmers” and encouraging them to apply for settlements, or Asian-American “farmers” have no intentions of playing the grievance game to receive handouts.

Photo: Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress

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