California governor Gavin Newsom has created a “reparations task force” whose sole directive is to brainstorm new ways for the state to give cash and other luxuries to black people, with no other variables being considered other than skin color. Officials have claimed the task force will combat unspecified harms incurred in 2021 by the practice of slavery, which ended in 1863.
The task force’s mission to give money and grant special privileges to black people is slated to be a two-year process, where various ideas are discussed such as the state government buying houses for black people or drafting frequent apology letters. The “descendants of slaves” featured on the panel primarily consist of wealthy lawyers, activists, politicians, and academics.
Although slavery was a recurring topic during the formation of the task force, California was actually not part of the Confederacy and was in fact considered a “Free State,” a fact which was not mentioned by any of the activists on the reparations panel. Nonetheless, California’s Secretary of State Shirley Webber demanded of the panel, “Your task is to determine the depth of the harm, and the ways in which we are to repair that harm.”
“We have lost more than we have ever taken from this country. We have given more than has ever been given to us,” task force member and state senator Steven Bradford said, without elaborating further. According to the Associated Press, Bradford wants to model the task force’s race-based preferential reparations program on the G.I. bill, which provides benefits to military servicemen.
Current benefits of the G.I. bill include low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business or farm, unemployment compensation, dedicated payments of tuition for high school and college, housing allowances, and other stipends. Considering California already boasts a staggering state debt of $777 million, it remains unclear how the “reparations task force” plans to enact discriminatory and preferential race-based payments on such a grand scale.
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