California Considers Reparations Bill

The California state legislature is considering a bill regarding reparations for slavery and racism. However, the bill is vastly different than the recommendations written by a task force organized by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on the subject, which would have paid the state’s Black residents more than $1 million each.

Should the legislature pass the reparations bill, it would be the first of any state. However, the current draft does not include any specific cash payments. Overall, the 14 proposals would restrict solitary confinement in the state’s prisons.

The state’s voters will also vote this November on potential “waivers” regarding race-based issues. The California state Constitution bars racial discrimination, but the proposal would allow for race to be considered by the state for official purposes.

Separate proposals from the state’s reparations task force recommended forgiving back child support payments and allowing for schools segregated on the basis of race.

Despite Newsom creating the panel, he declined to endorse any specific course of action, instead speaking generally about the need to ameliorate racism in the state.

The California Reparations Task Force recommended that the damages caused by the effects of slavery and racism totaled about $1.2 million. The recommendation came despite the fact that California was never a slave state.

“160 years after the abolition of slavery, its badges and incidents remain embedded in the political, legal, health, financial, educational, cultural, environmental, social and economic systems of the United States of America,” read the committee’s report, released last year.

“Without a remedy specifically targeted to dismantle our country’s racist foundations and heal the injuries inflicted by colonial and American governments, the ‘badges and incidents of slavery’ will continue to harm African Americans in almost all aspects of American life,” it said.

The city of Boston formed a similar task force, despite many of Massachusetts’ leaders being in the forefront of the fight against slavery.

So far, public polls have shown sharp majorities opposed to any type of reparations payments.