California /

Majority of California Residents Oppose Reparations

Most respondents said 'It’s unfair to ask today’s taxpayers to pay for wrongs committed in the past'

A new poll shows that Californians, by a two-to-one margin, oppose reparations being paid to black residents.

Though 60 percent of California voters believe that the legacy of slavery still impacts the state’s black residents, according to the latest UC Berkeley IGS Poll, 59 percent oppose a state task force’s recent recommendation for cash payments made to black Californians.

Only 28 percent support the proposal. Of those who oppose the measure, 44 percent said they are strongly opposed to the idea.

Among black voters, 76 percent are supportive of the idea of cash payments, compared to 16 percent who oppose.

“The findings reveal the racial and political contradictions of California voters,” IGS co-director Cristina Mora said in the poll’s summary.

“While many can empathize with the plight of Black Americans, not all of these feelings will translate into support for policies that address longstanding racial harms,” she added. “And though this might be an information issue for some groups, the fact that even liberals are divided indicates that campaigns for racial redress will face a steep uphill climb.”

A state task force studying the issue of reparations for black Californians recently released a final report that spanned more than 1,000 pages and contained more than 115 recommendations on how the state should compensate residents harmed by slavery and state-instituted “historical atrocities.”

The task force hired a team of experts to put a price tag on what black Californians endured and concluded that, depending on specific harms, one could claim compensation as high as $1.2 million per person.

As Fortune stated:

The numbers are striking in their precision. The statistical value of each year of human life, accounting for racial differences in life expectancy: $13,619. Wealth missing due to lower rates of Black home ownership: $148,099. Average devaluation of Black-owned businesses: $77,000. Each year of disproportionate incarceration factored by race, combining lost wages and freedom: $159,792.

According to the IGS poll, Democrats are fairly evenly divided on the issue (43 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed), while Republican and conservative voters are nearly unanimously opposed.

Those opposed to cash payments were asked to choose between five responses as to why. The top two responses were:

  1. “It’s unfair to ask today’s taxpayers to pay for wrongs committed in the past.” (60 percent).
  2. “It’s not fair to single out one group for reparations when other racial and religious groups have been wronged in the past.” (53 percent)
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