January 15, 2019

Who doesn't love the "human interest" interview, amirite? You know the ones. A reporter is dispatched to a small town or city that's the subject of the news story, where they record a segment on how that big news story is affecting them, and they run that little segment on nearly every news show they have that day? "How is (fill-in-the-blank) affecting regular folks?"

In the nearly three weeks since Trump's Shutdown, there have been Average Joe and Jane interviews a-plenty, but almost all of them take some form of both-siderism. As in, "I just want both sides to compromise so I can get back to work." Or, "Both sides are the problem." Furthermore, some of my friends and I have noticed something...shall we say...missing?...from the interviewees. The people the media has been seeking out to interview are...hm. How do I say this delicately? Melanin-deficient? Sunscreen-inclined?


I saw one interview on the Shutdown where the person interviewed was Black, and the gentleman was super careful not to blame anyone for his situation (his wife was undergoing treatment for cancer, and they had to travel to another city for that treatment, so this lack of a paycheck really sucks.) He spoke two or three sentences at the MOST. Meanwhile, that same day, the same station ran a story about a white farmer in Colorado that was at least 2 minutes long, and he was sniffling and almost crying about how tough it was to face your kids knowing you may not be getting a paycheck. Sad, for sure, but things are still heavily weighted towards whiteness and both-sider-ism.

Until...KATY TUR MONDAY AT 2:39 P.M. Oh, sure, first Vaughn Hillyard did a segment interviewing a white farmer who was indeed suffering from the Shutdown, and the tariffs with China. But, hey! Farmer Brent was still okay with it, because, "Trump's not a career politician!" "He throws a hand grenade into things, and does them his own way!" "Woohoooo!" Hillyard asked him if that was necessarily a beneficial approach, and Farmer Brent said, "We probably won't know for years! Someone has to stand up to China!" Even at the expense of his farm.

Well, Katy Tur flipped that narrative on its head, and not a minute too soon. Her next guest was Mr. John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), and he was concise, specific, and direct. First, Tur asked if Boyd agreed with Farmer Brent's perspective on the tariffs and the Shutdown.

He said, NO, and HERE'S WHY. boom-boom-boom-fact-fact-number-fact, baby.

In 2012, Bushel of Soybeans = $16. Today? $8. Because of Trump.
30,000 Soybean farmers without their subsidy checks. Why? Because of Trump.

And Katy Tur just sat back, thank sweet baby jesus christ on a cracker, and let him go.

BOYD: The government is shutdown and we can't get our subsidy check that this president promised would be a swift, easy process. And it's not. It is because the president wants a wall. Well, quite frankly I don't need a wall. America does not need the wall. The very people this president is talking about keeping out of this country are the people that work in his hotels and in his restaurants and that keep his golf courses manicured. These are the people that the president speak harshly about and calling them drug dealers. Aren't those the same people that work for his company? The president needs to treat everybody with dignity and respect and he needs to start showing leadership and to bring this country together...It is time for this president to step up and put farmers like myself and federal workers back to work. Quite frankly, I don't know how farmers can support this president at the lowest grain prices in history. The price of seeds is $60 a bag. I am selling my soybeans for $8 a bushel, people. He promised soybean producers $1.65 a bushel and today I am waiting for a check from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for $15,000, which I have yet to receive and it looks like to me every time we have small scale farmers that had to rely to get government payouts, they're the last to get service. There's something is wrong with that picture. And I've reached out to Secretary Purdue to talk about expedite payments like farmers like myself or black farmers around the country, and our request and fell upon deaf ears. So that's where we are right now. We are in a bad situation.

Then Katy Tur asked Mr. Boyd why he though his opinion differed from the way Farmer Brent was seeing things.

Oh, Katy. You sly fox. YEAH, MR. BOYD, WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR POINT OF VIEW IS DIFFERENT FROM BRENT'S??? He did NOT hold back. It was cathartic.

BOYD: I believe farmers like that gentleman and all due respect to him, I believe they see themselves in president Trump. White Male. Quite frankly, the people that have prospered under his leadership have been white men. Farmers probably supported Donald Trump, president Trump, excuse me, probably at a 90% rate, farmers have. But I don't support the president's policies. I believe that they're bad for farmers like myself and farmers around the country. If they continue to support that and wait it out, they're gonna end up on the auction block. I can tell you right now today, I wouldn't lose my farm for president Trump. I wouldn't do it for President Obama...He claims to be the best deal maker in the world, he needs to step up and make a deal with Congress and put our federal employees back to work and put our country back to work and put me back to work as a farmer, and the members of the National Black Farmers Association. Any time we have to turn to the government for relief -- at $1.65 a bushel, historically African-American farmers have not prospered at the United States Department of Agriculture. they have not doled out loans equitably to African-American farmers. They haven't doled out subsidies to African-American farmers equally. I don't have the trust in the United States of Department of Agriculture that they are going to run to our aid. Here I am waiting for my own payment as the president of the organization for a check for $15,000 that I have yet to receive.

Well, Mr. Boyd. Thank you very much for agreeing to be on Katy's show. And Katy Tur? THANK YOU VERY MUCH for inviting him.

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