California’s Bulky Interim Report Backs Reparations and Separate Schools for Black Residents

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    California released a 500-page interim report that advocates for reparations for slavery and separate black schools. The report, which was released by the state's Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, is the result of discussions that started last June when Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed the AB 3121 law.

    The panel of nine members, comprised of mostly black members, has been deadlocked for months over the issue of who would receive the proposed reparations—based on color or confined to those who can prove they originated directly from slaves. The panel ultimately chose to narrow its focus. However, the legislative recommendations contained in the interim report are broad-based measures that are applicable to all “Black Californians,” such as the proposal to “[e]stimate the value of Black-owned businesses and property in California stolen or destroyed through acts of racial terror, distribute this amount back to Black Californians, and make housing grants, zero-interest business and housing loans and grants available to Black Californians.”

    This interim report suggests the creation of an entirely separate system of public-funded black schools, which are described in the report as “African American/American Freedmen owned and controlled K-12 schools, colleges and universities, trade and professional schools.” (It isn't clear how this could be accomplished, as the state constitution makes it clear that the state cannot discriminate based on race.) The executive summary explains that “a detailed program of reparations for African Americans” will be prepared prior to the release of the report's final version and calls on the state to propose to “the federal government [to] create a Reparations Commission for African Americans/American Freedmen through statute or executive action.”

    The report includes a variety of bold and controversial claims, including, “Despite California entering the Union in 1850 as a free state, its early state government supported slavery.” It further claims that the “American government at all levels, including in California, has historically criminalized African Americans for the purposes of social control, and to maintain an economy based on exploited Black labor.”

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