The "Critical Race Theory Ban" Deception

It's not really about banning "Critical Race Theory." The real goal is to formulate policy that ends White Culpability system-wide.

Dr. G.S. Potter | Senior Editor

It’s important for you to know that “Critical Race Theory” isn’t being banned. But, here is an outline of real things that are being banned

  • That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex. (… talking about white supremacy

  • That the United States of America and [any] state are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist. 

  • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. (… goodbye implicit bias training

  • That members of one race or sex cannot and should not 1 attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex. (… so, put those colorblind glasses back on)  

  • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex. (… that takes care of reparations!

  • That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex. (goodbye race and gender based trauma treatments

  • That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. (Bootstraps for all!

  • Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or any other form of race or sex stereotyping (It’s personal responsibility, not systemic racism

b. “Race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex, or claiming that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of persons’ race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others (white supremacy is all in your head). 

Aside from my parenthetical clarifications, these words were taken all but verbatim from the Critical Theory Ban that was recently passed in Iowa. These bans aren’t designed to remove actual Critical Race Theory from history classes in our schools.  They are designed to remove anything and everything related to white culpability from the political and social landscapes. 

Critical race theory” has been a decoy the entire time. The true target is truth and our ability to respond to attacks on it. Before we dive into the potential impacts of these bans, a brief refresher in strategic deception is in order.  

Strategic Deception

For most people, the bravery of the troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy, France comes to mind when they hear the term D-Day. As it should. But D-Day also marks the culmination of one of the greatest deception strategies ever deployed.   

It took over a year for Allies to plan the successful execution of D-Day. And the strategists involved knew that if Hitler gained even a couple of days of advanced notice, it might end their chances of success.  As such, Operation Bodyguard was set in motion. 

The goal was simple: make Hitler think that the allies were going to attack anywhere but Normandy.   

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In efforts to accomplish this goal the Allies flooded information channels with false information. They placed false stories in newspapers and over the airwaves. Over the radio, they faked communications about cold weather and snow-related engine damage, leading Hitler to think an attack would take place in Norway or “Fortitude North.”  They planted false stories in newspapers about soldiers getting married to move the Nazis’ eyes away from their true locations. They even used inflatable tanks to cover their changes in positions and make the Nazis believe that the sizes of Allied units were larger than they were. 

And it worked.   

Hitler was so misled he even sent troops to Scandinavia in the weeks leading up to D-Day.  The Allies were able to successfully cross the English Channel, storm the beaches of Norway, establish a new western front, and turn the tides of World War II to defeat the Nazis.   

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None of that would have been possible without an intricately designed deception campaign that turned the opponent away from the true target until it was too late to counter. The attack on critical race theory, while on a vastly different political theatee, serves a similar purpose.   

Critical race theory is an inflatable tank.  It’s a false radio transmission.  It’s a fake wedding announcement.   

The debate surrounding critical race theory has been designed to draw your attention away from the real attack.  The lawyers and legislators behind the critical race theory bans being introduced and implemented through state legislatures across the country want people to battle it out in the wrong arenas while their efforts advance.  They don’t want us to figure out what they are actually doing until it’s too late.   

The Truth Behind Definitions

In previous work, I have described the See-Think-Do model of military deception.  In the most condensed description, this model describes how deception tactics can mislead an opponent into translating (think) their perceptions (see) into actions that benefit the home team (do).   

In the case of critical theory, deceptions tactics have been applied to ensure that Democrats and Republicans take two very different courses of action.  The path for Republicans is to see the term “critical race theory,” conflate it with Black Lives Matter specifically and “wokeness” in general (think), and support the attack against it like the white supremacists they are (do).  For the Democrats, the strategy is designed to ensure that when they see the term critical race theory, conflate it with teaching about history (think), and start engaging in a rhetorical battle on media and social media platforms over the value of critical race theory and why it should be protected (do).  

It works because neither side really knows what critical race theory means, which is the point.  You can see this in the most recent polling out of YouGov, for example - most of the American public just doesn’t known what it means …

The right has been trained to associate it with Black Lives Matter. (There have been extensive efforts to frame the founders of Black Lives Matter as Marxists because they are trained in Critical Race Theory.  These efforts pre-date the current campaign to ban CRT in education).  The left has been trained to associate it with attacks on the New York Times’ 1619 Project or learning about historic racism in general.  

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 Neither definition is correct. But it’s perception, not definition, that matters.  In fact, it is the lack of a clear public understanding of Critical Race Theory that makes it such a perfect decoy.   

Take a recent Rasmussen poll (Republican-leaning, by the way), which shows

… 43 percent of likely U.S. voters believe teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools will make race relations worse in America.  Only 24 percent think teaching CRT will make race relations better.  Of these, I’m guessing the number of individuals that knows that Critical Theory is a component of formal academic research that is usually only taught in grad school is in the low single digits.   

But even the real definition of Critical Race Theory is irrelevant here.   

The real goal isn’t to end Critical Race Theory. The goal is to end white culpability.  In order to do that, the left must be too distracted by the rhetorical battle to see the legislative onslaught coming, let alone mobilized to stop it.  

No matter what the true definition is, the only definition that carries strategic weight is the definition that is being applied by Republicans in their bills and laws - and it has absolutely nothing to do with actual Critical Race Theory.  

What is Being Banned in the Name of Critical Race Theory?

To find what the white supremacists working through the Republican party are truly trying to legislatively eliminate, we have to look at the actual legislation that is being presented and passed.  These bills and laws are the real tanks.  There are twenty-two states that have proposed bans and six that have passed them into law.  These six that have passed bans are ….

  • Texas

  • Florida

  • Idaho

  • Iowa

  • Oklahoma

  • Tennessee 

So, let’s take a look at what they are banning. 

In Texas

No teacher, administrator, or other employee in any state agency, school district, campus, open-enrollment charter school, or school administration shall be required to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex (Translated: Racism happened, but white people had nothing to do with it). 

In Idaho, it can’t be taught …

That individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin (Translated: Reparations is an illegal thought). 

In Oklahoma, similar to Iowa, you can’t discuss the idea that … 

  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously (Translated: Police can’t be trained against implicit bias. It doesn’t exist!) 

  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex (Translated: no reparations. no race-based trauma treatment. No structural racism) 

  • meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race (Translated: you *(@*#($ are just lazy).

Tennessee’s ban is similar but adds …

a ban on discussions that include discussions that include the idea that people are inherently privileged, racist, or oppressive “whether consciously or unconsciously.” (Translated: Can’t forget to end discussions about white privilege while we’re at it). 

As my parenthetical comments are starting to point to, the repercussions of these bills and laws extend far beyond the history classes of an elementary school student.  Anyway, Critical Race Theory is taught in graduate schools.  The narrative surrounding the CRT bans focuses on elementary schools.  The effects of the actual ban will run system-wide.  

Who is Impacted?

In Texas, CRT ban applies to the roles of …

[T]eacher, administrator, or other employee in any state agency, school district, campus, open-enrollment charter school, or school administration.

In Idaho …

[A]dministrators, faculty members, other employees, and students at public schools, including public charter schools and institutions of higher education are forbidden to discuss the items banned in their state in the name of Critical Race Theory. 

Idaho and Oklahoma target similar populations.   

For states modeling their bans after places like Idaho and Oklahoma, white culpability can’t be acknowledged discussed or taught in classrooms from pre-school to higher education. While the importance of the impact that will have on children’s education is important, we should consider the effects that the bans in higher education can potentially have on practitioners in fields such as medicine, psychology, criminal justice, and law.  

How can classes on the 14th Amendment be taught if there is no acknowledgement that discrimination exists?  How can race-related trauma be treated if it is illegal to acknowledge it? How can criminal justice be reformed if discussions on structural racism are criminal?   

For states that want to model themselves after Texas, you can forget about anti-bias training for police officers.  Race based and intergenerational trauma treatments will be eliminated.  Any kind of discussions surrounding diversity and bias will be eliminated from agencies statewide.  People of color will stand to lose their jobs en masse for failing to acquiesce to these gaslights.  The very foundations through which we understand discrimination and fight against it will be removed and replaced with an All Lives Matter flag.   

What Can Be Done?

These bans can and should be challenged in court.  There might need to be a multi-pronged approach, though. As described in the Washington Post,

Since the 1950s — when a Red Scare mentality led legislators to try to ban the teaching of communist or socialist theories in state educational institutions — the Supreme Court repeatedly has held that universities, as well as individual professors, enjoy a First Amendment right to academic freedom. A state government cannot force a university president, provost or professor to serve as a sock puppet for the legislators’ preferred viewpoint.

Elementary school restrictions may be more difficult to undo.   

We are going to need to come together, find and relentlessly apply strategies to counter these efforts inside the courts and legislatures. We can’t do that, though, if we as stuck in a decoy battle over the definition of critical race theory and whether or not it has merit.  We have to look at the problem at hand, identify where we can push back, and relentlessly counter this attack on our abilities to learn about, discuss, and counter racism and white supremacy in this country.  

 

Did Making "Juneteenth" a Law Open Up a New Door to Reparations?

It's worth exploring if Congress and the President just inadvertently opened up fresh new legal avenues for reparations by passing Juneteenth and calling Tulsa a "massacre"

Thurston Renrick | Guest Contributor

It was 120 years after the first “Juneteenth” that I remember the first time I learned about Juneteenth.  It was 1985 during a college recruiting trip to Texas.  While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, it wasn’t until 1865 that Black men and women gained their freedom.  Some argue that it took an additional two years to end slavery in the Lone Star State because of poor communication networks.  Others argue it was a lack of Union troops to enforce emancipation. This debate alone points to a larger problem of revisionist histories and the erasure of Black trauma.  But in any case, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that slavery ended in Texas. 

My recruiting trip was an education in optics.  Thousands of people were gathered.  What I witnessed was akin to a parade or a festival – much like the celebrations we see today.  Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. People that don’t suffer the economic oppression that is rooted in slavery will get a paid day off while Black folks that disproportionately work in industries that stay open on holidays will continue to work. People will continue to have festivals and parties and celebrations – but do they know the true history of slavery and its supposed end? Do they know how this history affects everything in their lives today? 

I don’t celebrate Juneteenth. I don’t have a problem with anyone who does, but I’m more concerned with making sure that Black people study our own histories.  I want them to know that we were never freed … and that if we don’t learn these histories and ensure they aren’t erased, we may not be able to achieve true freedom in our lifetimes. 

From Federal Holiday to Legal Recourse?

With both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the House voting for passage of the “Juneteenth Day" bill into law,  we now have a paid time-off federal holiday for everyone.

But, it’s possible this presents certain legal possibilities that have not yet been captured in the public conversation on Juneteenth. We should consider this is the first time we’ve seen a government institution like Congress, along with a sitting U.S. president, unanimously acknowledge and sign into law what amounts to an official federal government acknowledgment that slavery took place. There were resolutions introduced in the House and Senate separately in 2008 and 2009 that would have made the U.S. government apologize for slavery, but those were never combined into one joint piece of legislation. It is ironic that as Juneteenth becomes law, there is a major effort to eradicate “Critical Race Theory” - or the basic teaching of the history of racism in America in classrooms - that is gaining ground at rapid pace. In addition, we still have H.R. 40, the bill to activate a Commission on the study of reparations for African Americans, still languishing in the House, but still not passed. However, we should explore now what a federal holiday means and if it opens up any new legal doors towards reparations.

A federal holiday on “Juneteenth” is an official government observance of an event that was precipitated by the existence, harm and destruction of slavery. While the federal government is not formally apologizing for slavery with this holiday, it is making a formal acknowledgement - and that may open up the path toward an official apology and future reparations.

It is also the first time that contemporary Republicans are inadvertently admitting that chattel slavery is something that did take place and that it ended in 1865. Since Juneteenth was a celebration of emancipation from the destructive and traumatic horror of enslavement, voting for it as a federal holiday into law means that an official acknowledgment has taken place. Those Senators and House members are all now on record basically saying “yes, slavery took place and it was such a horrible institution that enslaved Black people celebrated its end.” Voting by the House and Senate and the signing into law by President Joe Biden could potentially make the United States government liable, culpable and legally responsible for reparations - or, it at least makes the possibility of such worth exploring.

Tulsa’s Insurance Dilemma

The 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre helps us explore this much further. It also provides a good example of history lessons that Black people need to learn.  They must learn it correctly because if we don’t understand the truths about the crimes committed against us, we cannot come together to find justice for them.

Biden’s recent statement on Tulsa may have brought us a step closer to collective understanding and justice. For the first time in U.S. history, an American President has acknowledged that what White people did to Black people in 1921 in Tulsa was not a riot, as it had been previously described.  It was a “massacre.” 

Biden took a pause and then stated …

My fellow Americans, this was not a riot.  This was a massacre — (applause) — among the worst in our history, but not the only one.  And for too long, forgotten by our history.

This is important for two reasons. 

First, acknowledging the burning of Black Wall Street was a massacre and not a riot validates for Black Americans and all Americans that the event wasn’t just a public assembly that got out of hand.  It was an intentionally organized and orchestrated mass killing of people through cruel and atrocious means. Biden himself noted …

Through the night and into the morning, the mob terrorized Greenwood.  Torches and guns.  Shooting at will.  A mob tied a Black man by the waist to the back of their truck with his head banging along the pavement as they drove off.  A murdered Black family draped over the fence of their home outside.  An elderly couple, knelt by their bed, praying to God with their heart and their soul, when they were shot in the back of their heads.

Private planes — private planes — dropping explosives — the first and only domestic aerial assault of its kind on an American city here in Tulsa.

Eight of Greenwood’s nearly two dozen churches burned …

Now more than ever, it is vitally important that we are clear on the difference between a “protest” and an “insurgency,” or a “riot” and a “massacre.”  We need to understand the organized and violet tactics used against Black people by White people in the United States.  And we need to know the depths of the struggles our parents and grandparents and ancestors faced so we can understand the struggles we as Black people must defend ourselves against today. 

Being truthful together is the foundation for seeking justice together. 

This brings us to our second point: Biden’s use of the word massacre instead of riot may have inadvertently bolstered the case of victims and families of the Tulsa Race Massacre seeking a legal avenue through which to seek reparations.

According to the Oklahoma History Center

… [I]n addition to the practice of labeling similar events as ‘riots’, there was another important factor in assuring this would be designated as a ‘riot’ and that was the riot exemption standard in insurance policies at the time. If official authority designates the event as a ‘riot’ then insurance companies do not have to honor the claims of their policyholders.

Words matter.  They matter when it comes to our collective understanding of an event.  And they matter in a court of law.  Revising the historical record to ensure Tulsa was labelled a riot instead of a massacre ensured that the Black community would not be held accountable for its losses. 

According to the Wall Street Journal

Greenwood property and business owners suffered at least $1.5 million in losses in 1921 dollars, according to a 2001 report from a bipartisan commission appointed by the state to study the event. That’s roughly $22 million in today’s dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure likely underestimates total losses, as not everyone had full insurance coverage or went to court.

Ultimately, insurance companies fell back on an exclusionary clause that prevented payouts on many claims. The policies with that clause said insurers wouldn’t be held liable for loss ‘caused directly or indirectly by invasion, insurrection, riot, civil war or commotion, or military or usurped power.

By validating that the events in Tulsa in 1921 were a massacre and not a race riot, Biden may have strengthened the position of victims and their families exploring lawsuits against insurance companies for damages.  Such an effort would not be unprecedented.

For example, Deadria Farmer-Paellmann uncovered evidence that insurance companies had offered policies to slaveholders that would give them payouts in the event a slave had died.  One of the companies that had participated in this practice was Aetna. 

Farmer-Paellmann was able to gain access to Aetna’s slave policies and they were later pushed to make a public apology.  This admission led to the basis of a number of lawsuits filed by Farmer-Paellmann seeking reparations from private companies that had offered insurance to slaveholders.

While there is a current lawsuit seeking damages from the city for the damages inflicted in Tulsa, Biden may have opened up an opportunity for the victims and their families to target the insurance agencies and private entities that participated in and benefited from the Massacre in Tulsa.

Biden may have also, inadvertently, opened the door to Civil Conspiracy tort lawsuits.  According to Minc

A defendant is liable for the tort of civil conspiracy if the plaintiff can successfully prove the following four elements:

The defendant entered into an agreement with at least one other person;

To commit a tort or other wrong;

The act was in furtherance of the agreement; and

The plaintiff suffered economic loss or other harm as a result of the tortious or unlawful act. Restatement (Third) of Torts § 27; First United Pentecostal Church of Beaumont v. Parker, 514 S.W.3d 214, 222 (Tex. 2017); Rex Distrib. Co. v. Anheuser-Busch, LLC, 271 So. 3d 445, 455 (Miss. 2019).

As a riot, it would be difficult to make a civil conspiracy claim.  The entities involved would not necessarily be perceived to have entered into an agreement to commit a tortious or unlawful act.  A riot carries the perception that both sides participated in the violence. With a massacre, it is clear that one side committed a slaughter against another. 

By changing the narrative in both of these instances, the passage of the Juneteenth holiday bill and the acknowledgment of the events in Tulsa, OK 100 years ago as a massacre, may have also changed the strategic avenues through which we can seek justice. 

Instead of focusing all of our energy into festivals and parades for Juneteenth, we need to honor enslaved ancestors, victims of the Tulsa Massacre and our community by pursing justice for them and their families.  We need to teach the history of this massacre through the daily action of seeking justice together.  We must continue to demand that the truth of Black America be spoken clearly at every level of public and private life so that we can expose the truths of our histories and re-write the paths towards our futures. 

 

Reparations: What Would That Look Like?

A solution-based discussion exploring federal and state centered justice strategies and policy frameworks for restorative reparations

a CSG East feature

About this Event …

The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference, Council on Communities of Color presents the latest installment of its ongoing micro-summit series. Now called "The Movement Summit" series, this new discussion will be: "Reparations: What Would That Look Like? Exploring a Justice Strategy and Policy Framework."

REGISTER TODAY

Movement Summits are being produced all year in partnership with the B|E Note. The Summits are a unique convening of state and local policy makers, experts and thinkers in search of equitable governing solutions. This panel will take place via Zoom on Friday, June 18th, 10am - 11am ET.

The program on "Reparations" unpacks the most recent conversations around the movement to provide broad financial and institutional restitution for Black communities in America. Experts and policymakers will discuss the concept of reparations as workable policy, the costs of such a program, and what implementation would look like if it were to become a reality. The panelists will also discuss what role the movement for reparations plays in the overall push for equity.

REGISTER TODAY

Join us for this important discussion. Panelists will offer expert insights, guidance and strategy.

Registrants will receive a Zoom access link upon registration. Audience members will be able to ask questions by chat. Audience members are encouraged to discuss and share the panel on social media at #MovementSummit.

Organized by The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference, Council on Communities of Color and partnered with theBEnote.com.

Panelists …

Moderator …

Charles Ellison, CSG East Senior Fellow | Host of "Reality Check" on WURD radio | Publisher, theBEnote.com

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Agro-HBCU Leaders Address Congress This Week

1890 Land Grant HBCU presidents press House Agriculture Committee to help improve infrastructure and research at agriculture-focused HBCUs and support Black students pursuing agriculture science

Publisher’s Note

The House Agriculture Committee will convene a hearing on Wednesday, June 16th at 10am ET with several Presidents of the 1890 Universities. The hearing, titled 1890 Land Grant Institutions: Investing for Agricultural Resiliency, Equity, and Global Impact, will explore the important role the 1890 Universities - or “Agro-HBCUs” - are playing in their respective communities and the investments they need to educate students to meet challenges and opportunities in the 21st Century.

WATCH LIVE at 10am ET, 6.16.21

Witness participants will include Dr. Makola Abdullah, Chair of the 1890 Council of Presidents and President of Virginia State University; Dr. Paul Jones, Vice Chair of the 1890 Council of Presidents and President of Fort Valley State University; Dr. Heidi Anderson, President of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. All of the Presidents are members of the Council Executive Committee. Dr. Orlando McMeans, Chancellor-Dean at Southern University will also participate.  The hearing will also include a video presentation from several other 1890 Presidents and Chancellors.

MORE info here

I want to thank Chairman Scott, the members of the House Agriculture Committee and all of the members of Congress for recognizing the critical role we are playing in our communities,” said President Abdullah. “Our history of progress over the past 130 plus years since our institutions were founded is extraordinary. Our engagement with Congress over these last several years continues to reap further progress and we are looking forward to working with Congress on our infrastructure needs, covid recovery and response, climate change, broadband expansion, socially disadvantaged farmers, student scholarships and many other issues.”

Tomorrow’s hearing brings us once again before key decision makers to help shape our future together,” said Vice Chairman Jones. “We are slowly recovering from the pandemic but the list of challenges and opportunities are great. We welcome working with our federal partners to address the needs of the rural, urban and suburban areas that we serve.

Tackling Food Insecurity? Fund Agro-HBCUs

Food insecurity rates, with the highest such rates in Black communities, should prompt aggressive support for agriculture-focused HBCUs or 1890 Land Grant Universities

Publisher’s Riff

A Congressional hearing this Wednesday is set to highlight the significance of Agro-HBCUs: Historically Black Colleges and Universities, many of them historic 1890 Land Grant Universities, which specialize in teaching, training and preparing students for the agriculture sciences. Members of Congress, while hearing testimony from Agro-HBCU leaders, will consider and demand increased levels of federal funding for those institutions as a way to 1) continue supporting the academic and research functions of HBCUs that play a critical role in the nation’s food supply sector and 2) create permanent and strong scholarship programs at Agro-HBCUs which will persuade more Black students entering college to pursue critical agriculture science studies.

This hearing and other discussions among state and federal policymakers sit against the backdrop of very alarming food insecurity rates in Black communities. Agro-HBCUs/1890 Land Grant Universities, with increased funding and resources, could be the key to reducing or altogether eliminating those disparities.

The State of Food Insecurity

Recent research shows nearly 10 million additional Americans found themselves experiencing food insecurity due to the economic disruptions of pandemic. That’s 10 million that we know of. While much of the conversation focused on unemployment, reduced work hours and a lost workforce, there hasn’t been as much focus on households - and, especially, children - losing food as a direct result of lost income.

Research estimates from the University of Illinois’ Craig Gundersen found a 3 percentage point increase in food insecurity rates between 2019 (11 percent) and 2020 (14 percent); child food insecurity rates rose nearly 5 percentage points in the same time period.

Food insecurity spiked at the height of pandemic and, if it wasn’t for a combination of stimulus checks, fast recovering supply chains and a much more resilient agriculture sector than expected, it would have been much higher. The good news is that initial data signal the rates stabilizing … at least temporarily. The bad news is a deeper look at data underscoring the usual racial disparities: Black communities are among those facing the highest rates of food insecurity, particularly in comparison to their White counterparts.

Food Insecurity By Race

Household food insecure rates with children were the highest among Black populations, according to a Guardian study of Census data

As Feeding America data show …

States with the highest overall food insecurity rates are also places with the highest concentrations of Black residential populations …

1890 Land Grant Locations

It just so happens that the vast majority of states with a combination of 1) large Black population concentrations and 2) high food insecurity rates that disproportionately impact Black and low-income/economically disadvantaged populations are places the house the long-standing specialized 1890 Land Grant universities, the majority of which are also designated HBCUs. These are primarily “Agro-HBCUs” or Historically Black Colleges and Universities that place special emphasis on agriculture science related degrees and career development.

They are also 3) located in states and regions with large agricultural and other land-driven industries. Degree programs at 1890 institutions include …

  • Agriculture

  • Agricultural Business/Management

  • Agricultural Economics

  • Agricultural Engineering/Mechanics

  • Agricultural Production and Technology

  • Agronomy or Crop Science

  • Animal Sciences

  • Botany

  • Food Sciences/Technology

  • Forestry and Related Sciences

  • Home Economics/Nutrition

  • Horticulture

  • Natural Resources Management

  • Soil Conservation/Soil Science

  • Farm and Range Management

  • Other related disciplines, (e.g. non-medical biological sciences, pre-veterinary medicine, computer science)

Federal Funding

In essence, 1890 Land Grant or Agro-HBCUs represent the framework for a national Black-led infrastructure to tackle high Black food insecurity rates while, simultaneously, opening the doors for increased Black STEM/STEAM advancement in critical agriculture science industries. Agriculture science is also a fast-growing global sector that will find itself increasingly relied upon as climate crisis continues having devastating impacts on food supplies and economically distressed populations. The 1890 agro-HBCUs support the development and scale-up of that infrastructure; to continue doing that, enhanced federal funding will be needed. Funding for critical 1890 Land Grant and agro-HBCUs is already low compared to predominantly White institutions. Solving food insecurity rates will require, for example, more Black college-age students entering agriculture science fields and eventually dominating that sector.

This week Congress looks into that with a major hearing in the House Agriculture Committee entitled “1890 Land Grant Institutions: Investing for Agricultural Resiliency, Equity, and Global ImpactThis push is being led by House Agriculture Committe Chair David Scott (D-GA), along with HBCU Caucus Chair Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) and others such as Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI) and others in the Congressional Black Caucus and collaborative Members on both sides of the aisle from 1890 Land Grant states, all working to fix that funding disparity. Federal funding was secured in the 2018 Farm Bill for 1890 Centers of Excellence ($50 million), scholarships for students attending Agro-HBCUs who want to pursue agricultural science professions ($80 million) and $630 million for food security, production and safety research. This week’s hearing will determine more permanent federal funding support for those institutions and a permanent food secure future for Black communities.

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