California reparations task force member defends cause as ‘no brainer’: Benefits ‘can be easily provided’
A state senator and member of the California reparations task force dismissed concerns about the financial costs and political will to deliver “free tuition, home loan assistance and tax breaks” to qualifying Black residents in the state, saying these could “be easily provided.”
Last month the task force recommended compensating qualifying Black residents up to $1 million in cash payments from the state, along with other benefits such as eliminating child support debt and free tuition to public colleges.
“If you can inherit generational wealth, you can inherit generational debt. This is a debt that is owed to those descendants of slaves and to their ancestors,” California state Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford told NPR.
The Democrat argued that Black Californians were being affected by the state’s history of upholding the institution through its fugitive slave law. He further argued that many wealthy people today were reaping the benefits of work done by enslaved Black Americans for their ancestors.
Reparations calls have yet to grow major traction in the U.S. Even California state Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford has advised African American state residents not to get their hopes up on massive individuals reparations payments. (Media News Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram)
“Again, many of the folks who are living in luxury and opulence today weren’t alive when their land baron grandparents and great-great-great-parents were enslaving Black folks to do the work in order to acquire their wealth. So I think it’s a no-brainer here for me,” he said.
Bradford also shot down questions asking how “realistic” massive cash payments were, given the state’s budget crisis.
“I would not focus on the cash payments, but all those other things – health care, free tuition, homebuyers assistance, tax breaks – all those can be easily provided to descendants of slaves,” he argued. The Democrat recommended the state give eligible Black residents benefits in the same way veterans receive benefits for education or training.
He denied that cash payments were the highest priority of the task force and blasted critics highlighting their cost as “misrepresenting the overall purpose of reparations.”
Rev. Tony Pierce calls for more than $5 million in reparations for each Black Californian at a meeting of the California Reparations Task Force on March 29, 2023.(YouTube screenshot from California Department of Justice channel)
“I’m just being a realist here and, you know, on a level set for folks that if it’s not cash payments, there are other ways that we can compensate individuals. So I think cash payments are a distraction, and that gives the other side a reason to say no to reparations. So to singularly focus on cash payments, I think, is doing this a big injustice and misrepresenting the overall purpose of reparations. And that was to provide some kind of restitution, so to speak, for the harms and atonement for 250 years of free labor in this country,” he told NPR.
The Democrat previously warned African Americans in the state not to get their “hopes up” for massive reparations payments.
The task force’s final report released in June came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California’s budget deficit has grown to nearly $32 billion.
Economists predicted in a preliminary estimate in March that California’s reparations plan could cost the cash-strapped state more than $800 billion. The task force said at the time that the total didn’t include compensation for property deemed to be taken unjustly or for the devaluation of Black-owned businesses.
Fox News’ Aaron Kliegman and Alexander Hall contributed to this report.
Kristine Parks is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Read more.