The Problem With California's Reparations Plan
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The Problem With California's Reparations Plan

In the words of Riley Freeman: “Pay what you owe!”

As soon as 2024, Californians employed by their home state will be able to identify as “African Americans who are descendants of persons who were enslaved in the United States.” This is a big deal. Basically, we’ll be seeing a tangible step toward an American government providing reparations to descendants of persons subject to the horrors and generational effects of African chattel slavery.

State employees will not be required to provide such information, which will be made public in 2025, but according to NPR, California’s Coalition for a Just and Equitable California says this data will benefit the Black community.

Sure, if you’ve got a Hotepian way of thinking, you might believe this data is being collected by the state so the governor can harvest your melanin as solar energy or something. But let’s just assume this is a legitimate reason. I can find a completely different fault with the way it’s being handled for the time being.

Earlier this year, California’s reparations task force voted 5-4 in favor of only Black Americans who are descendants of slavery being eligible for reparations. As evidenced by the close vote, this was the subject of an intense debate.

Requiring reparations recipients to be descendants of African chattel slavery is shaky criteria, as the impacts of bondage reverberate far beyond enslavement. We’re talking about people occupying the same land where LAPD has terrorized Black people for decades. Home to redlining. And segregation. And the Kardashians. And unfair hiring practices. And… you get the point.

In other reparations news, last year, an order of Catholic priests pledged to raise $100 million to atone for the sins of its hand in the slave trade. According to the New York Times, aside from an initial investment of $15 million, they’ve received just $180,000 in small donations. That only amounts to one high-value man. So much for Catholic guilt!

In an ideal world, the fight for reparations would play out something like that one episode of Atlanta, word to Sheniqua Johnson. But all I know for sure is that my family is from deep in Louisiana, so whenever it’s reparations time, there’s a real good chance Uncle Sam’s gonna have to run me my money.