The California Reparations Task Force wrapped up its two-day long meeting today and is looking into how slavery and government decisions have created a wealth gap between black and white Californian and will recommend possible remedies.
“You call it reparations, I call it justice,” said Lawrence Lucas, USDA Coalition of Minorty Employees.
California’s Reparations Task Force continued its work studying the effects of slavery and government decisions on black Californians. Wednesday’s focus centered around the wealth gap wedged between white and black workers in the state, while experts noting because there has been a wage gap between races, there’s also a savings gap.
“Look at it from the viewpoint of a black man with the same education, living in the same area with the same background, every hour they’re 22% behind,” said William Spriggs, Economics Professor at Howard University.
Other witnesses Wednesday spoke about disparities in wages… with black americans historically making less to do the same jobs as their white colleagues.
“Banks and corporations have engaged in lending and hiring practices that have solidified racial inequality,” said University of Texas History Professor Jacqueline Jones.
Others testified to the constant displacement of black communities, the theft of black owned land, and the modern day devaluation of black owned home, which they say contributes to the gap.
As the task force explores reparations, experts say California’s budget isn’t big enough to provide reasonable, financial compensation alone. Professor Thomas Craemer estimates at minimum, a pay out of more than $350 thousand dollars for each descendant of slaves in California. The cost could be roughly $14.7 trillion dollars.
“Instead, California could exert pressure on the federal government to provide federal level reparations, after it was the federal government that allowed slavery to exist in the United States,” Thomas Craemer, Public Policy Professor at UCONN.
While Craemer’s estimate includes descendants of slaves, the task force is in ongoing discussions about who exactly will be eligible for reparations.
“I’m fearful of having a very isolationist perspective on reparations in this process, where it goes to a tiny sector of the community who can directly trace and document their decedancy. I have concerns about that very very narrow construction,” said Craemer.
No action was taken at today’s meeting. The task force meet again in December.