A number of scholars who work in different areas related to agriculture, food, and justice co-authored a response letter to Sharon LaFraniere's article, U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination, which appeared in the New York Times. Their response was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Times today, along with a letter from Ralph Paige, the executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund.
The letters were posted together under the heading Bias and a Settlement With Black Farmers in the online version, with the notation that a version appeared in the printed issue May 4, 2013, on page A20.
Both letters provide context regarding historical patterns of discrimination and its tragic effects. And, they criticize the Times article for its decision to focus on anecdotes of fraud and "cherry-picked examples" to tell an incomplete story.
The list of the scholars who submitted their Letter to the Editor was not included in the Times publication, but it is impressive -
Valentine Cadieux, Ph.D., Departments of Sociology and Geography, University of Minnesota
David A. Chang, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Minnesota
Tracey Deutsch, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Minnesota
Jess Gilbert, Ph.D., Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thomas Mitchell, LL.M., University of Wisconsin Law School
Rachel Schurman, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Marilyn Sinkewicz, Ph.D., School of Social Work, University of Michigan
Rachel Slocum, Ph.D., Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Monica M. White, Ph.D., Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Community and Environmental
Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Spencer D. Wood, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, Kansas State University.
The Federation of Southern Cooperative's initial press release was featured on this blog as Response to Times Article on Pigford Settlement. And my response was posted as Discrimination at USDA: Response to New York Times.