Thousands of black farmers who have complained about discrimination by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will receive US$1.25 billion in a settlement. For decades, they were unjustly denied loans or subjected to longer waiting periods for loan approval because of racism, the farmers say.
US President Barack Obama praised the USDA for its efforts to correct past mistakes and bring these long-ignored claims of African-American farmers to a rightful conclusion. He set aside money for them.
I am very happy the farmers will receive compensation. America is a multi-racial country, so everybody should be treated equally. This settlement is an important milestone in the fight against discrimination.
In a democratic country, people can express their grievances to the government. The farmers could have held demonstrations or launched a petition to get society to pay more attention to the matter.
Zenna Liu, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Zenna. This is a very interesting case. It just goes to show that things should not be taken at face value. Many racists have used the black farmers' lack of success as proof that they are somehow not up to the task. But for the black farmers this case has dragged on for more than 10 years. Many of them died waiting for a result.
Not getting the loans or subsidies that their white counterparts were given meant many farmers lost their lands and livelihoods. Let's hope lessons have been learned from this.