California will today become the first state in the US to officially document the harms it committed against slaves. A specially convened taskforce will also make recommendations on how to right those historic wrongs.
According to ABC News:
California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations for African Americans will release a report Wednesday documenting in detail the harms perpetuated by the state and recommending steps to address those wrongs, including expanded voter registration, making it easier to hold violent police accountable and improving Black neighborhoods.
It also recommends the creation of a special office that would, in part, help African Americans descended from free or enslaved Black people in the country at the end of the 19th century document their eligibility for financial restitution.
The report, which runs 500 pages, will be the first government-commissioned study on harms against the African American community since the 1968 Kerner Commission report ordered by then-President Lyndon Johnson, task force Chair Kamilah Moore said.
“I hope that this report is used not only as an educational tool, but an organizing tool for people not only in California but across the U.S. to educate their communities,” she said, adding that the report also highlights “contributions of the African American community and how they made the United States what it is despite ongoing oppression and degradation.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation creating the task force in 2020, making California the only state to move ahead with a study and plan.
Cities and universities are taking up the cause with the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, becoming the first U.S. city to make reparations available to Black residents last year.
The task force voted in March to limit reparations to descendants, overruling reparations advocates who want to expand compensation to all Black people in the U.S.
The report, to be released by the state Department of Justice, marks the halfway point for the two-year task force’s work. The draft report does not provide a comprehensive reparations plan, which is due to lawmakers next year.
The report is expected to lay out how California supported slavery before it was technically abolished and oppressed Black residents through discriminatory laws and practices in education, home ownership, employment and the courts.
Slavery was/is wrong. Lynching blacks simply for existing was unimaginably evil. Denying them access to education, jobs and civil rights was terrible.
However, it could be argued that compensating the descendants of slaves is foolish and dangerous. California would in effect be criminalising its taxpayers, who I am pretty sure had nothing to do with slavery and are as repulsed by it as you and me.
The state is also impressing upon black people that they are perpetual victims of history. It gives them a ready made excuse for failure in all its forms, doesn’t it?
Isn’t that a terrible lesson to teach young black kids?
Divide and conquer never gets old, does it?