In a bold and audacious move, California plans to hand out a staggering $1.2 million to every black resident, as a historic compensation for slavery and discrimination. But are the Democrats truly interested in making amends, or is this a strategic move to buy votes and manipulate the black community into lifelong loyalty? As the state is first to establish a reparations task force, the nation is watching with bated breath. Could this trigger a domino effect, spreading to other states, or will it fail to gain momentum?
In an unprecedented move, California, governed by the Democratic Party, has approved a plan to pay more than $1.2 million to each black resident as compensation for slavery and discrimination that dates back over two centuries. The nine-member committee, tasked with developing proposals for the state’s reparations, has drawn up recommendations and aims to have them signed into law.
While some critics argue that this is a blatant attempt by Democrats to secure lifelong loyalty from the black community, the proposed payouts have also left many black residents dissatisfied, with some demanding even higher compensation.
California became the first state to form a reparations task force in September 2020, following nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis Police officer. The task force is scheduled to present its final report to lawmakers before July 1, which will include compensation estimates calculated by several economists working with the group. Although the report does not outline the total cost of these reparations, previous calculations from economists have predicted figures around $800 billion, more than double California’s approximate $300 billion annual budget.
The report suggests that black residents should be compensated based on losses incurred due to specific types of racial discrimination. This includes $2,352 per person per year for over-policing and mass incarceration of black communities, $3,366 per person per year of residence between 1933 and 1977 for discriminatory lending and zoning, $13,619 per person per year of residence in California for injustices and discrimination in health, and $77,000 per person for black-owned business losses and devaluations. As a result, a lifelong black Californian resident aged 71 or older could potentially receive more than $1.2 million in compensation.
However, the proposed compensation figures have been met with dissatisfaction from some black residents and activists. During an official meeting in Oakland, Reverend Tony Pierce referenced the nation’s “broken promise” to provide 40 acres and a mule to newly freed slaves, and argued that the reparations should amount to $200 million per person. Others present at the meeting expressed similar sentiments, with some calling for direct cash payments and even higher compensation figures, up to $5 million per person.
The reparations task force, comprised of elected officials, academics, and lawyers, has recommended direct payments for eligible recipients. They have also suggested that eligible individuals receive cash “down payments” as soon as any recommendations are made into law while they wait for the final amount of compensation to be calculated. In addition, the panel has called for state legislators to formally apologize to California’s black residents.
Despite these recommendations, it remains unclear whether the task force’s proposed figures will be accepted by the Legislature, with state Sen. Steven Bradford referring to it as an “uphill fight.” Kamilah Moore, a reparatory justice scholar and attorney who chairs the task force, has previously stated her intention to be as “radical as possible” when determining reparations recipients and amounts.
California’s proposed $1.2 million payouts to each black resident raises eyebrows and sparks concerns over the absurdity of such a scheme. While claiming to address historic injustices, this controversial plan raises questions about the Democrats’ motives and the feasibility of implementing such a costly initiative. Is this a genuine attempt to right past wrongs, or a desperate and ludicrous political maneuver to buy votes and manipulate black Californians? As the nation watches this divisive issue unfold, it remains to be seen whether California will follow through on this radical and contentious reparations proposal.
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