Community Conversations: Lineage Based Reparations & the Divide Between Black Americans Descendant From Slaves, & Those Who Aren’t
A new California law will create separate data categories for Black people based on lineage, in large part to better track discriminatory practices, and continue the state's talks on reparations.
Jump to the bottom to see some discussion questions, and let’s talk in the comments!
California is the first state to pass a bill requiring agencies to create separate demographic categories for Black people descendant from slaves in the U.S. and Black people who aren’t when reporting state employee data.
The state has long been in discussions on how best to provide reparations for those descendant of slaves, something lawmakers hope this bill will provide clarity on. Just this March the California Task Force for Reparations voted to affirm that state-funded reparations are to be allocated only to those who can prove direct lineage to an enslaved ancestor in America.
This small change in data collection will allow for discrepancies in the treatment of those descendant of slaves, versus those who are not, to be clearly and undeniably recognized - an issue that has proved quite contentious, yet remains largely unexplored. Divisions within the Black community, particularly between those descendant of slaves and those directly from countries in Africa, have existed since colonizers first carved that division with the violence of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Today, that division has manifested itself in many ways. While I am a firm believer that any force working to pin Black people against each other is merely a tool of the white man, I also believe that by ignoring resentments that have been built over centuries, the Black community can never truly be a cohesive, united front.
Here are some questions to drive the discussion. Let’s talk together, so we can heal together!
How can the African-American community create a stronger relationship with the continent of Africa and our people there? What has limited us thus far?
What are the ways in which you personally have tried to foster a relationship with the African continental diaspora, or if you are from the continent, how have you connected with the Black American diaspora?
Is reparations an issue you are invested in? Why or why not?
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