Most Californian voters oppose cash reparations for slavery: poll

(Xinhua) 13:18, September 11, 2023

SACRAMENTO, United States, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- California lawmakers face strong headwinds to pay cash reparations to descendants of slaves, as the latest poll found that the majority of voters in the Golden State oppose this idea.

According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, 59 percent of respondents are against the proposal of making cash payments to descendants of enslaved African Americans currently residing in the state.

Furthermore, 44 percent of those voiced strong opposition to the idea. Republicans and conservatives overwhelmingly oppose the proposal, while 65 percent of independents are against it and 22 percent in favor. On the other hand, Democrats and liberals are divided on the issue, with 43 percent in favor and 41 percent against it.

"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," said Cristina Mora, co-director of the Institute of Governmental Studies, in Sunday's report.

"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," she said.

The poll found the two primary reasons cited for opposing cash reparations: the belief that "it's unfair to ask today's taxpayers to pay for wrongs committed in the past" and "it's not fair to single out one group for reparations when other racial and religious groups have been wronged in the past."

California, the most populous state in the United States, is expected to set an example for the nation by compensating the descendants of enslaved African Americans.

The state lawmakers created the Reparations Task Force in 2020 to establish a path to reparations. The task force submitted a final report in June with recommendations for offering direct cash payments.

According to the report, a 71-year-old Black person who lived all their life in California and can trace his or her lineage back to an enslaved person may be eligible to receive up to 1.2 million U.S. dollars through potential direct cash payments.

To become law, the reparations need to be proposed as legislation first, then passed by both chambers and finally signed by the governor.

Another survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in June found that less than half of the respondents held a favorable opinion of the reparations, though majorities supported a formal apology from the state to descendants of slaves.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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