A reparations task force in California has increased the amount of money it wants taxpayers to hand out in compensation for racial discrimination and enslavement.
After first proposing $220,000 payments last year, The California Reparations Task Force proposed at a meeting Friday that every black citizen in the state be given a $360,000 check.
The project could cost as much as $640 billion — but there was no word on how it would be funded in the cash-strapped state.
“If California can admit its sins and change the narrative, then there is a way forward for states and cities across the nation,” California Secretary of State Shirley Weber — who authored the bill creating the task force — said.
The task force met Friday for the first session of its two-day deliberations over how much reparations each black citizen who descended from an enslaved ancestor in the US is entitled to and how those reparations will be distributed.
The payments could be made directly to those qualified or in the form of investments in education, health care and homeownership for black communities.
There are roughly 1.8 million African-Americans living in the Golden State.
The group reached the proposed $640 billion fund total by using a model that evaluated the state’s racial wealth gap by calculating damages related to specific injustices such as housing discrimination, mass incarceration and health harms.
A history of housing discrimination against black Californians makes up a significant portion of the compensation the panel recommends. Several black communities were bought out or seized through eminent domain to be bulldozed for infrastructure projects, according to the panel’s findings.
The task force previously reported that white households on average owned 9 times more assets than black households.
“Government laws and policies perpetuating badges of slavery have helped white Americans accumulate wealth, while erecting barriers that have prevented African Americans from doing the same,” the panel stated.
“These harms compounded over generations, resulting in an enormous gap in wealth between white and African Americans today in the nation and in California.”
A final report will be issued before July 1, 2023.