From the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board:
BY THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD
SEPT. 17, 2023 3 AM PT
According to a new poll, 59% of California voters surveyed do not approve of cash reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black people. …
That’s concerning, since the state Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom are embarking on the huge task of poring over a 1,000-plus page report from a statewide task force that made dozens of recommendations for reparations including cash compensation.
But it’s not surprising. Americans learn little in school about the long-term consequences and costs of chattel slavery and institutionalized racism on generations of Black Americans.
In some states, teachers aren’t even allowed to talk about the history of race in America. In Florida, public school students can now be taught, preposterously, that in some instances slaves developed skills that could be used “for their personal benefit”—as if any skill a slave picked up compensated for being enslaved.
African-Americans are among the poorest Americans, but are the world’s richest Africans.
… Discriminatory bank lending policies and zoning ordinances kept Black people from acquiring property in neighborhoods where they wanted to live—or from acquiring it at all.
As a result, Black families have been thwarted in their efforts to create the most common form of wealth—a home to pass on to the next generation. The results are stark: Black families today are in far worse financial straits than their white counterparts. How much? According to a 2016 study, the median value of liquid assets for native-born African American households in the U.S. was $200, compared with $110,000 for white households.
In other words, blacks tend to be bad with money, ergo … we must give them a whole lot of cash. Because this time it will be different.
That’s why compensation in some form for past harms that linger to this day must be something that the state lawmakers consider seriously. To do anything less would be irresponsible.
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), who sat on the task force that produced the report, said educating the public about the recommendations, which include many non-cash reparations, is crucial. He said the Legislature’s Black Caucus will raise money to hire experts to create compelling presentations of the history of Black Californians and the justification for reparations of some kind.
That’s a smart idea.
The California legislature’s Black Caucus includes, presumably, most of the most gifted black politicians in California. If you guys are stumped at how to sell your greed-head money grab to liberal California voters, who are these “experts” who are going to figure it for you?