Are we about to see what large-scale, monetary reparations looks like in real time?
According to several new reports, California’s Reparations Task Force is nearing the end of its work, and one possible suggestion in their final report would be groundbreaking. The committee is floating the idea that the nation’s largest state provide $223,000 in reparations directly to the descendants of slaves living in the state to address housing discrimination, the Daily Mail reports.
The amount would by far be the largest financial compensation every provided to African-American descendants of slavery as a group by government at at any level in the country’s history. But it’s far from a done deal: the task force’s report won’t be finalized until at least early next year, and California’s state legislature isn’t bound to act on any of the recommendations in the form of new legislation or ballot initiatives that might be required for proposals to become real.
Still, even a report that put such a specific number on possible compensation for slavery and state-sanctioned structural discrimination is a leap in a country where it took three decades just to get one chamber of Congress to authorize a commission to study reparations. If it did come to fruition, it would be one of the most expensive undertakings for California’s government ever.
From The New York Times
Californians eligible for reparations, the task force decided in March, would be descendants of enslaved African Americans or of a “free Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.” Nearly 6.5 percent of California residents, roughly 2.5 million, identify as Black or African American. The panel is now considering how reparations should be distributed — some favor tuition and housing grants while others want direct cash payments.
The task force has identified five areas — housing discrimination, mass incarceration, unjust property seizures, devaluation of Black businesses and health care — in discussions for compensation. For example, from 1933 to 1977, when it comes to housing discrimination, the task force estimates compensation of around $569 billion, with $223,200 per person.
On the other hand, $233,000 doesn’t even come close to the cost of the median priced home in California, nor dos $569 billion compare to the loss of life and wealth faced by Black folks as a result of discrimination.