Juan Williams, Racist Smears, and Pigford

Quick quiz: who said the following?

“My position is that there have been black farmers who did not receive the money that was owed them and that wrong needs be righted. I don’t think that’s happened despite the fact that over $1 billion has gone out.”

Sounds like an advocate of black farmers, right? Sounds like somebody who wants to see justice for black farmers, right? It is. That quote is from Republican Representative and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, who clearly wants to see justice for legitimate black farmers but has committed the sin of opposing fraud in Pigford and having the guts to say something about it.

And now comes Juan Williams, who has smeared Rep. Bachmann as a racist at the same time they help promote fraudulent race baiter “Dr. John Boyd. It’s a disgusting but predictable byproduct of the fraud and deception that is the Pigford settlement.

Williams clearly isn’t a fan of representative Bachmann, as his opinion piece Where Was the Media When Bachmann Talked About Pigford? makes abundantly clear. For instance, he takes a swipe at her fiscal conservatism as he describes how her “high profile stand against raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances pushed the country to the brink of default.” However, that’s a policy difference and it’s certainly within the realm of legitimate debate.

Then Williams crosses an ugly racial line in his unwarranted and factually incorrect assault on Rep. Bachmann. He describes Bachmann “skating along the red zone of stirring hate.” He says he “can’t get over how easily she joined in demeaning black farmers and drumming up racial resentments and how little attention it got from the media.”

It’s a lie to say that Bachmann ever said anything that was demeaning about black farmers. Worse, it’s a damn lie. She’s been very clear in opposing fraud, not farmers.

One of the ugliest facets of Pigford is that it exacerbates racial tensions for no better reason than the personal greed of a few people. And of course, who makes an appearance in Williams piece but the race baiting fraud “Dr.” John Boyd? Boyd has created a faux legitimacy for himself by constructing the appearance of an organizational structure and making frequent media appearances. Boyd uses that in order to keep afloat the settlement scheme that he personally profits from.

The numerous farmers I’ve interviewed are well aware of what Boyd is up to and they don’t like it. Now Juan Williams is bolstering Boyd’s legitimacy and smearing Michele Bachmann in the process. They owe her a retraction and an immediate apology.

Still, I’m willing to engage Williams on the issue because I believe there is a chance that he has simply been hoodwinked by hucksters like Boyd. Mr. Williams clearly has a sympathy and appreciation for black farmers. In his piece he says:

Back in 2006, I authored an essay for the book “Black Farmers in America.” My words accompanied emotionally powerful pictures — by celebrated photographer John Ficara — depicting the loss of family farms and a way of life as a result of the discriminatory treatment by the USDA.

In the book, I wrote that those black farmers, largely southerners with ties to the land that extended back to slavery, were “unwavering in their determination to cultivate their own land and master their own economic fate.” They displayed an all-American commitment to liberty and personal independence. These people never asked for hand-outs or welfare of any kind. They simply expected to be treated fairly when the government offered to help all farmers when the farm business hit a devastating downturn in the ’80s.

This is all true. Juan Williams needs to understand that people like me, Andrew Breitbart, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michele Bachmann are the actual allies of black farmers and that their enemy are people like the loathsome “Dr.” John Boyd, who has hijacked their settlement and worked with the politicians and lawyers to keep the scheme running.

I hope that this is a teachable moment for Mr. Williams. I challenge Juan Williams to debate the Pigford issue and to defend his unconscionable statements about Rep. Bachmann. I’m ready to debate him anytime, anyplace. Meanwhile, he should start apologizing – not just to Bachmann, but to all his readers for his role in falsely ratcheting up racial tensions to provide a smokescreen for fraud.

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