California Reparations Committee Can’t Figure Out Who Qualifies

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 17: Andrea Levy (R) from Queens, New York, joins other demonstrators for slave reparations on the National Mall August 17, 2002 in Washington, DC. Hundreds of blacks rallied, saying it is long past time to compensate blacks for the ills of slavery. (Photo by Manny Ceneta/Getty …
Manny Ceneta/Getty Images

California’s state panel on “reparations” for slavery postponed a decision on who should qualify for compensation — whether only the descendants of slaves, or all people of color, based on the idea that the United States suffers from “systemic racism.”

As Breitbart News reported in 2020, the Golden State, which entered the Union in 1850 as a free state, decided to set up a committee to study reparations in the wake of national protests and riots over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

When the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans launched in 2021, one member claimed that black Americans were treated as badly in California as they were in the South in the years after the Civil War.

However, the question of who should qualify for reparations remained unanswered as the committee began. “California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has told the reparations task force to prioritize residents descended from enslaved people so the ambitious effort remains manageable,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Sunday. “But the focus could potentially exclude many Black residents navigating systemic racism deeply embedded within American society [sic].”

Chronicle columnist Justin Phillips added:

After nearly two hours of fiery public debate on Feb. 24, California’s reparations task force could have made a seminal decision on who gets reparations — all Black people or just the ones who can trace their ancestry to slaves in the U.S.

Instead, the first-in-the-nation body awkwardly punted until later this month. Of the panel’s nine members, five voted for the delay. The decision didn’t sit well with the four who didn’t.

Deciding who is deserving and less deserving of reparations will do little to heal our people’s generational trauma. And for the task force, its legacy will depend on whether it can ensure all Black Californians benefit from its decisions — whenever they come.

Asked to define “systemic racism” in 2020, outgoing L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said it was “racism that is built into systems.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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