California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber said that the Golden State can “lead the nation” by passing reparations for the descendants of black slaves.
California entered the Union as a free state on Sep. 9, 1850.
The state has been considering reparations under a law proposed by Weber, then in the State Assembly, and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in 2020, during the height of the frenzy around the Black Lives Matter movement. A committee was formed to consider proposals for reparations and to make recommendations to the legislature. As Breitbart News has reported, reparations could amount to $230,000 per recipient, though some claim even that will not be enough. The committee is due to report its final recommendations to the state legislature later this year for consideration. California currently faces a budget deficit of roughly $22.5 billion.
Weber, the first black Secretary of State, was speaking to an audience at Sacramento State university. She said (via Sacramento Bee):
The process of creating this whole task force … was to create some sense of equity and fairness in the conversation, to create an opportunity for this state to basically lead the nation in what needs to happen with reparations.
It’s not about taking opportunities from other people, it’s about expanding the opportunities.
Hopefully, the reparations would deal with changing our system so that our system becomes fair and have some sense of equity. … And then you have an investment that is long term and not just a splash in the pan because it seems to be convenient for us to do so.
Weber dismissed concerns that California had not been a slave state and had not had Jim Crow laws, as the South did. She said that there were many racists who had played a role in state government, including the first governor, and claimed slavery had been “allowed to exist” when laborers where brought in for the gold rush.
She noted that the committee had limited eligibility to those who were descendants of American slaves, and added that there were other legacies of racial discrimination that played a role in present-day inequality.
She suggested that might not suffice. “I’m not sure if $20,000 [sic] can handle 400 years of oppression.” She went on to argue that even $230,000 might not be enough to account for the hardships of discrimination — even if black Americans came to California to escape segregation in other parts of the United States.
Through paying reparations, she implied, California could encourage the country as a whole to do the same.
Separately, the city of San Francisco is considering its own reparations for black residents of up to $5 million.
The committee is due to report its final recommendations to the state legislature later this year for consideration. California currently faces a budget deficit of roughly $22.5 billion.
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 new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.