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Opinion By Donna Westfall – May 11, 2023

For those of you that have been following the farce of reparations for black people in California, guess who is not going to go along?

Governor Newsom! Well, at least not yet. Have you ever met a Democrat that didn’t want taxpayers to fund everything?

California was never a slave state to begin with. Blacks make up about 5% of California’s population. Yet, the Reparations Task Force with many of it’s nine member board members put into place by Newsom has come up with a few thousand dollars to over $1.2 million per black person. That’s the starting point. There doesn’t seem to be any ending point.

To paraphrase Newsom’s quote… throwing cash payments at Black’s is a way to reconcile our country’s original sin.

What’s to prevent more blacks from moving to California should this idiotic scheme ever pass our legislature? Shouldn’t Newsom be spending his time figuring out how to pay California’s bills right about now?

Let’s consider if reparations ever took place before in our country?

Yes it did. Four decades after WWII, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 paying out $20,000 to 80,000 living surviving Japanese American’s (placed in internment camps) in addition to an apology. That was it. An apology + $20,000.

My family were members of a Japanese church in Los Angeles during the 1950’s. I learned their customs, learned to love their food and learned of the hardships they endured by losing everything by being forced into internment camps. For the three years they spent in internment camps, orders of shoot to kill were issued if anyone tried to escape.

Camp residents lost some $400 million in property during their incarceration. Per the White House, “They lived in harsh, overcrowded conditions, surrounded by barbed wire fences and armed guards. Not only did they lose their homes, businesses, property, and savings — they also lost their liberty, security, and the fundamental freedoms that belong to all Americans in equal measure.”

Slavery took place in our country. Nobody disputes that. But when will those government bureaucrat types ever learn that throwing money at an issue doesn’t necessarily solve the issue? Will Blacks become better educated? Will they become better business owners? Will they create a more cohesive family unit? Will they go off welfare? Will they be taught how to handle money? Will they stop their addictions? Paying out a lot of money to people who have little experience in handling money is not going to stop a lot of injustices that routinely take place.

Just look at lottery winners.

Why do most lottery winners go broke?

Accordingly to the book The Emotional Life of Money, lottery winners frequently become estranged from family and friends. They also have a greater incidence of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, and suicide than the average person. Like losing all the money wasn’t already enough!

The states that permitted slavery between 1820 and 1860: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The largest plantations had about 1,000 slaves. Most plantations had several hundred. Not all slaves picked cotton, tobacco, rice or indigo. Not all slave owners were cruel. The conditions of slavery in the northern colonies, where slaves were engaged more in nonagricultural pursuits (such as mining, maritime, and domestic work), were less severe and harsh than in the southern colonies, where most were used on plantations. The Quakers were the first religious group to speak out against slavery.

Did the “Reparations Task Force” come up with some kind of a DNA profile to find out which blacks were descendants of slaves? Or which were descendants of indentured servants? How many Black indentured servants that became free, then became slave owners? Should reparations be paid out to those slaves of Black owners?

THE BIBLE AND SLAVERY

Slavery is not a concept started in America with Blacks. Let’s look at the Bible (Exodus 21:2-11, 20-21).:

“When you acquire a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years; in the seventh year he shall go free, without payment. If he came single, he shall leave single; if he had a wife, his wife shall leave with him. If his master gave him a wife, and she has borne him children, the wife and her children shall belong to the master, and he shall leave alone.

“But if the slave declares, ‘I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free,’ his master shall take him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his slave for life.

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not be freed as male slaves are. If she proves to be displeasing to her master, who designated her for himself, he must let her be redeemed; he shall not have the right to sell her to outsiders, since he broke faith with her.

“And if he designated her for his son, he shall deal with her as is the practice with free maidens. If he marries another, he must not withhold from this one her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he fails her in these three ways, she shall go free, without payment.

“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod, and he dies there and then, he must be avenged. But if he survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, since he is the other’s property.” 

SLAVERY AND TAXES OVER THE CENTURIES

Regarding the history of slavery during biblical times, it was necessary for those who owned slaves, especially in large numbers, to be wealthy because the masters had to pay taxes for Jewish and non-Jewish slaves because they were considered part of the family unit.

During the 1800’s in America: Until the issue was resolved, enslaved people were taxed as persons rather than as property. Based on the Constitutional Convention of 1835, no levy was imposed on enslaved people under age 12 and over age 50; all others were assessed at an amount not to exceed the poll tax for white men.

As long as property and poll taxes remained low, this provision raised no particular concern. By the late 1850s, however, when assessments were increased to support railroad construction and other internal improvements, small farmers and laborers felt that they were bearing an unfair share of the tax burden.

$1.10 tax was charged for 15-30 year old slaves. The Whig Party tried to change the taxation rules and have them taxed as property and not persons. This did not happen.

WHEN DID SLAVERY END IN AMERICA?

Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

WHEN COULD REPARATIONS BEGIN?

The Task Force is set to deliver their final recommendations by July 1, 2023. Here’s the question: Can reparations ever undo 300 years of slavery and racism? How is 300 years calculated? I haven’t found the answer to that yet. It’s been 158 years since the Civil War.

12 legislators voted against while 58 voted in favor of the Task Force. Most Californians are against reparations. Open the flood gates to one ethnic group and what’s to stop the next group?

Some are convinced that the money isn’t as important as the methodology for calculation for various forms of compensation that correspond with the Task Force’s findings. They want to leave the compensation up to the legislature and Governor to decide.

TWO OPTIONS: (Credit to Wendy Fry, April 11, 2023, Calmatters.org)

“One of those avenues would be a baseline amount that would potentially apply to all descendants of American slaves who meet a California residency requirement. That compensation would be for the general community harm and legacy of slavery as well as the state’s role in perpetuating racism. The amount has not been decided. 

The other route would be people applying for redress for specific injustices experienced under one of five categories outlined in a 40-page report compiled by economists working with the state Department of Justice.

Those five categories of harm include health, disproportionate mass incarceration and over-policing, housing discrimination, unjust property taken by eminent domain and the devaluation of Black-owned businesses.  

Those category payments would be in addition to or instead of baseline compensation, task force members said.” 

Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D – assemblyman- 59th District) said one of the most important recommendations is an apology letter from California. It wouldn’t cost a dime.

My vote is for the apology letter just as soon as possible.

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