‘Historic’ report from CA slave reparations task force calls for free college, free health care and much more

In what is being hailed as a “historic” report, California’s slavery reparations task force has issued a 500-page document in which it suggests prison system reforms, a state-subsidized mortgage program, free health care, and free college tuition for African Americans.

It’s quite a big ask for a state that never allowed slavery, especially considering that just three months ago, the task force couldn’t even decide who should qualify for all the benefits: all black Californians or just those who can actually trace their lineage back to an enslaved ancestor?

Ultimately, the committee voted that reparations should only go to those who can prove they are descendants of African Americans who lived in the United States in the 19th century.

Never mind that slavery and Jim Crow laws were always illegal in California and you won’t find cotton plantations in Malibu, the interim report states that, even though blacks were always free in the Golden State, California “perpetuated harms that have compounded over generations,” according to the Associated Press.

“Four hundred years of discrimination has resulted in an enormous and persistent wealth gap between black and white Americans,” the report claims. “These effects of slavery continue to be embedded in American society today and have never been sufficiently remedied. The governments of the United States and the State of California have never apologized to or compensated African Americans for these harms.”

According to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, “California was not a passive actor in perpetuating these harms.”

Under the task force’s recommendations, prison inmates shouldn’t have to work if they don’t want to, but if they choose to do so, they need to be paid “fair market wages.” Prisoners should get to vote in elections and convicted felons should be able to sit on juries.

African Americans seeking to purchase a home should be guaranteed low rates.

And in addition to the free health care and tuition to California colleges and universities, black high school grads should get scholarships to cover them for four years of undergrad studies.

“The final details — including the exact monetary amount of compensation and the number of Black Californians eligible — will be in a second report due to the Legislature by July 2023,” according to CalMatters.org.

As reported below, the initial report published Wednesday cites critical race theorists Ibram Kendi, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Derrick Bell a total of 47 times.

Governor Gavin Newsom, who created the two-year task force in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, issued a statement in which he praised the state for leading the nation on a “long overdue discussion of racial justice and equity,” AP reports, adding that he is now hoping to do the same for Native Americans.

“A similar effort is underway to delve into what Newsom has called California’s dark history of violence, mistreatment and neglect of Native Americans,” AP writes. “The report by the Truth and Healing Council, due in 2025, could include recommendations for reparations.”

Online reaction to the report has been less than enthusiastic.

“Show me a slave and we’ll talk about reparations,” responded one Twitter user. “You must also show me a slaveowner to pay the reparations.”

“California never was a slave state so why they are paying reparations is beyond me,” wrote another. “So happy I moved my family out of that communist state.”

“That’s discriminatory against anybody who’s not Black,” tweeted a third, to which a fourth replied, “It will be declared unconstitutional by a court, if it ever passes & becomes a law.”

And another user just wants California to go away.

“California needs to separate from the USA or drop off into the ocean,” the user stated, “they are all nuts.”


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Melissa Fine


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