Boston has quite the reputation as the Northeast’s capital of bigotry. However, the city that Bill Russell once called “a flea market of racism” is one of the few to seriously consider giving its residents reparations for the harm it has perpetuated for centuries. If a city can do such a thing, maybe Mark Wahlberg can also open up his wallet for the hate crimes he committed around town as a teenager.
Wednesday, the Boston City Council unanimously voted in favor of forming a task force to research how it could give reparations to Black residents as a form of penance for its role in financing the slave trade, redlining, and other various forms of oppression.
“The City of Boston, like many areas around the United States, has profited from the labor of enslaved African Americans and has further disadvantaged them by barring them from participating in the same economic mobility opportunities as their white counterparts,” City Councilmember Julia Mejia said. The study will determine the logistics of granting payments and other forms of restitution as well as officially document the specific types of injustices and disparities Black people have faced in Boston. It will also help decide how to form an official apology. That’s cool and all, but brang the money!
Boston isn’t the only city at work researching a form of reparations. For example, Evanston, Illinois has a pretty tepid form where Black people who lived in the city before 1969 can receive $25,000 to buy a house or get repairs on their homes. A decent start, but not nearly enough. There are almost a dozen mayors across America working on at least exploring the option.
The most notable reparations plan comes from California, where task force members met Wednesday in Oakland to begin drafting recommendations on how to give Black Californians reparations. One idea floated was $350,000 cash payments to Black people. I love that idea. And if that’s what they’re on, I’m going-going, back-back, to Cali-Cali!