Sharecropping: In the decades after the Civil War, many African Americans participated in an economic system in which they leased parcels of land for agriculture in exchange for a share of the crops they produced. Lease requirements, however, often meant that production was heavy on cash crops and light on food.
Factory farming: According to Monica Nickelsburg in The Week, agriculture as big business has directly contributed to a 500-calorie per capita increase in consumption. Add corn subsidies to the equation, and we see the proliferation of cheap, high-calorie foods and a rise in obesity and diabetes that disproportionately affect racial minorities.
Urban marketing: Fast food may be a guilty pleasure for some, but it is a staple for low-income African American families. Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University showed that fast food chains in predominantly African American neighborhoods were 60% more likely to advertise directly to children than those in white neighborhoods (Washington Post, 11/12/2014).
Food deserts: Regions in which fresh, whole foods are difficult to come by are known as food deserts. According to Teaching Tolerance, only 8% of African Americans live in a census tract that includes a supermarket compared to 31% of whites.
USDA discriminatory lending: In 2010, the President of the United States signed a bill authorizing payment in the amount of $6.2 billion to settle the claims of 40,000 African American farmers that the United States Department of Agriculture discriminated against them on the basis of race in their pursuits to secure farm loans.
Diabetes is nearly twice as prevalent among African Americans and Native Hawaiians and more than
2 1/2 times as prevalent among American Indians as
it is among whites.
US Department of Health and Human Services
Historical and contemporary structural injustices in corporate agriculture fuel racial health disparities.