AFN previously reported that California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) had signed legislation creating a "task force" to come up with a study and a plan for how the state's taxpayers should shell out money to blacks believed to be descendants of slaves, thus deserving of reparations.
Now the task force is releasing a 500-page report that documents in detail the harm perpetrated by the state. It also recommends steps to address those wrongs, including helping blacks who descended from free or enslaved black people in the country at the end of the 19th century document their eligibility for financial restitution.
With "voting time" approaching, Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the Los Angeles-based BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny), is not surprised.
"We're having the midterm elections, and the Democrats are running scared right now because everything is such a mess in the country," he says. "They've been catering to the blacks on the Democratic plantation for a long time now, so it's just more of the same, in spite of the mess that we're in. It's not that they care about the blacks. It's about the vote and nothing else."
Peterson says the whole idea of reparations is wrong.
"This country has already given the blacks everything they've asked for the last 80 years," he submits. "When will enough be enough? And who is to tell who the slaves are and who are not the slaves?"
Reparation, he adds, is neither deserved nor earned.
"They should not be getting one dime," Peterson concludes.
Likewise, Donna Jackson, who spent most of her life in San Diego and now serves as the director of membership development for the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, calls the reparation proposal "political grandstanding." Like Peterson, she finds the timing of this report suspicious.
"It's always around the time near an election, or whenever they feel like they're losing the support of black and minority communities, that they come up with this," she observes.
Jackson goes on to warn that any attempt to force reparations will be challenged in the courts.
"There are international humanitarian laws that explicitly ban collective punishment," she points out. "You cannot punish the relatives or descendants of an individual who has committed a crime. That in itself creates an injustice. How do I make you accountable for a crime that someone else committed?"
Jackson says the subject of reparations is meant to create anger and division.
This push for "emergency treatment" for the descendants of slaves is occurring in a Democrat-controlled state that entered the Union as a free state 172 years ago. Delegates to that 1849 constitutional convention fiercely opposed slavery, and they penned a constitution to outlaw it. Now, with a population of 39.5 million, California is the most populous state. Blacks, however, form a single-digit minority there. The current population includes an estimated 2.6 million blacks, or approximately 6%, while the number of Hispanics are the majority population at almost 40%. Whites make up about 35% of Californians, and Asians are about 15%.