San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee has admitted that it has not used a mathematical formula to calculate the amount it is willing to pay each long-term black resident for decades of discrimination.
The 15-member commission proposed $5 million in reparations in January, as well as debt forgiveness and $97,000 in guaranteed incomes.
The city has now revealed that they did not follow a mathematical formula, but instead looked to history to help determine the controversial figure.
“There was no mathematical formula,” chairman Eric McDonnell told the Washington Post.
“It was a journey for the commission into what could be a large enough investment in families to put them on this path to economic well-being, growth and vitality that destroyed slavery and all the policies that followed it.”
San Francisco black residents could each receive up to $5 million in reparations at the suggestion of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee
Commission President Eric McDonnell admitted that they have not followed a mathematical formula to determine how much each eligible resident will receive
San Francisco Republican Party Chairman John Dennis criticized the proposal, saying “There was no justification for the number, no analysis was provided”.
“This is just a bunch of like-minded people who came into the room and came up with a song,” he told the Post.
“This was an opportunity to do some serious work and they blew it.”
William A. Darity Jr., an economist who supports reparations, even denounced the high figure, saying the payout should be “somewhat realistic.”
“Calling for a $5 million payout from a local government undermines the credibility of the reparations,” he told the Post.
However, supporters argue that black residents earn an average of $44,000 a year, compared to their white counterparts who earn more than $100,000.
It’s unclear how many San Franciscans qualify, but the city is home to about 50,000 African Americans. If every resident qualified, it took up a huge chunk of the annual budget, which is still recovering from the pandemic.
To qualify, residents must have been identified as black on public records for at least 10 years and be at least 18 years old.
They must also meet two of a number of requirements, including being born in the city or having migrated to it between 1940 and 1996 and then lived there for 13 years.
McDonnell (pictured) said: ‘It was a journey for the committee into what could be a significant enough investment in families to put them on this path to economic well-being, growth and vitality that destroys slavery and all the policies that resulted from it’
One of the historic events the city has researched was the expulsion of the black community from the Fillmore District in the 1960s. Known as the “Harlem of the West,” nearly 900 businesses and 20,000 people were evicted from the neighborhood, which has since become a predominantly white, high-end neighborhood.
The purpose of the reparations, San Francisco said, is not to make amends for slavery — which was never legal in the state — but to “govern government policies that are explicitly designed to enslave black people in San Francisco by intent to and legacy of chattel slavery.”
San Francisco isn’t the only city struggling to find the perfect number to pay its citizens with, as a dozen others — such as Boston and St. Louis — are also still debating.
The cities considering reparations must strike a balance between satisfying advocates of reparations while also recognizing that the majority of Americans oppose financial restitution.
A University of Massachusetts Amherst poll in January found that six in 10 opposed payouts to the descendants of slaves, while four in 10 said the federal government “absolutely should not be pursuing such a policy.”
San Francisco’s proposal outweighs several other cities, and critics of reparations are concerned that the city will collapse under the financial strain. The city, still recovering from the pandemic, has an annual budget of $14 billion, according to the Washington Post. The city also faces a $728 million shortfall over the next two years.
To qualify, people must have been identified as black in public records for at least 10 years and be at least 18 years old. They must also meet two of a number of requirements, including being born in the city or having migrated to it between 1940 and 1996 and then lived there for 13 years
Angela Davis, 79, appeared Tuesday on an episode of PBS’s Finding Your Roots, in which she also learned that both her mother’s father and her father’s father were white men and were descendants of slave owners
The proposal also says that the income of eligible low-income households must be supplemented to match the city’s median income — $97,000 in 2022 — for the next 250 years.
“Racial disparities across all metrics have resulted in a significant racial wealth gap in the city of San Francisco,” the draft states.
“Increasing income to match AMI will allow black people to afford housing better and achieve a better quality of life.”
A number of other proposals include investment in San Francisco’s black community, financial education, legal protection of people’s reparations, tax credits, and enabling black banks to manage people’s money.
The proposal also says that San Francisco “gives a formal apology for past harms and commits to making substantial, systematic and programmatic investments in black communities to address historic damages.”
The final report is expected in June.
Earlier this month, a famous Black Panther, who is also a communist, faced calls for reparations after discovering that her ancestors were white Puritans who arrived in the US on the Mayflower.
Angela Davis, 79, was stunned to discover that both sides of her family were white and that her mother’s ancestors were slave owners, on the PBS show Finding Your Roots.
From California to Massachusetts, newly formed panels grapple with what a recovery settlement should look like
Six in 10 respondents opposed payouts to the descendants of slaves, while four in 10 said the federal government “absolutely shouldn’t be pursuing such a policy”
And the stunning revelations sparked calls for the famously awakened Marxist University of California professor to make reparations herself, after calling on whites to posit in the past.
Conservative pundit Matt Walsh shared a tweet about the show, writing, “It gets better. She is also descended from a slave owner. On her father’s side is a pilgrim. Mother’s side is a slave owner. Looks like Angela Davis owes some reparations.’
Another Twitter user named AK Kamara wrote, “Angela Davis, the radical Marxist and former black panther, recently discovered she is also the ancestor of settlers and slave owners. I think she owes herself reparations. This timeline is hilarious.”
She appeared shocked during the TV interview airing this week, in which Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. told her about her origins.
‘No. I can not believe this. My ancestors didn’t come here on the Mayflower,” she said – only to be told later that they did indeed arrive in the US aboard the famous pilgrim ship.
The Mayflower was an English boat that brought white English families, known as the Pilgrims, to the American continent to permanently establish the colony of New England in 1620.
“You are descended from the 101 people who sailed on the Mayflower,” reiterated Gates Jr., the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.