Nearly 60% Of California Voters Oppose Cash Reparations For Slavery: Poll

More than 4 in 10 voters said they were "strongly" opposed.
A picture taken on December 7, 2021 in Istanbul shows US dollars banknotes. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

California voters are against cash reparations for slavery by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll.

Nearly 60% of California voters said they oppose cash reparations payments, compared with 28% who said they would support it, according to a University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll.

More than 4 in 10 voters said they were “strongly” opposed to cash reparations, the poll found.

“It has a steep uphill climb, at least from the public’s point of view,” said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director.

California has been examining the possibility of reparations since 2020 when the country was reeling from George Floyd’s police custody death and the violent protests that followed.

In September 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed the law that set up the California Reparations Task Force, whose goal was to determine what cash slavery reparations could look like for black Californians.

In June, California’s task force sent its final report to the legislature after a chaotic last public hearing where advocates shouted for a national “divorce” settlement for black Americans.

The reparations task force’s report recommended several remedies for the country’s legacy of slavery, including suggesting that monetary payments are owed to the descendants of African American slaves, amounting to $1.2 million for some people.


The report did not recommend an exact dollar amount for every black Californian, but it did give several examples.

A 71-year-old black person who has lived in California all their life, for example, would be entitled to $967,000 due to health discrimination, the panel said. Black people who had suffered due to aggressive policing and prosecution in the “war on drugs” from 1971 to 2020 and lived in California during that time would be entitled to $115,000, the report said.

It is unclear whether the legislature will adopt any of the reparations task force’s recommendations, even though Democrats have a supermajority in the legislature.

Governor Gavin Newsom supports the task force, but Newsom has been careful not to comment on specific recommendations for reparations, including cash payments to black Americans.

“I am very mindful of our past,” he said in June.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has its own reparations effort, the African American Reparations Advisory Committee, which was also set up in 2020 by the city’s board of supervisors.

The San Francisco committee eventually came up with the idea of giving each qualifying black resident $5 million in reparations.

The chairman of the committee admitted they did not use a mathematical formula to come up with the $5 million number.

John Dennis, chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, said in February that he was open to a conversation about reparations, but criticized the committee’s report as unserious.

“This is just a bunch of like-minded people who got in the room and came up with a number,” Dennis said. “You’ll notice in that report, there was no justification for the number, no analysis provided. This was an opportunity to do some serious work and they blew it.”

Across the country, only about 30% of Americans say descendants of slaves should be repaid in some way, while 77% of black Americans say so, according to a 2021 Pew Research poll.

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