San Francisco Reparations: If Not $5 Million for Each Black Resident, Then How Much?

San Francisco has been in a heated debate over the amount of reparations that should be paid to its Black residents. In December, the African American Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC) recommended that qualifying Black residents receive $5 million each in reparations. 

The committee’s draft report said that the proposed reparations program is not compensation for slavery, which was never legal in San Francisco. Instead, it was for the public policies that were explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco by upholding and expanding the intent and legacy of chattel slavery. 

READ: San Francisco Reparations Committee Recommends $5 Million and Debt Forgiveness For Each Eligible Black Resident

San Francisco is among the growing number of cities and states that have started developing reparations programs, looking for ways to arrive at a formula that approximates the cost of damage caused by slavery and Jim Crow laws. House Democrats are also seeking to establish a national reparations committee.

AARAC’s proposal, which is vastly larger than the sums currently being discussed in other cities, has been described as unrealistic even by people in the reparations movement. It has been criticized, harshly, with people saying that the idea would be financially disastrous for San Francisco. While the draft plan does not give a computation of how much the recommendations will cost the city, it is expected to be in the neighborhood of at least $200 billion — 14 times the city’s 2022-2023 budget of $14 billion. 

In California, a state reparations task force asked a team of five economists to quantify the cost of the discrimination its Black population has struggled with, and they settled at $569 billion, which was computed from the state’s maximum liability for discriminatory housing policies from 1933 to 1977. The individual payment to each Black resident in California would amount to $23,239.

In Chicago’s Evanston where the country’s first government-funded reparations program was established, they are offering some Black residents a $25,000 housing voucher — experts say it’s a “noble start,” while critics dismiss it as paltry. 

In Providence, R.I., a $10 million reparations program will be invested in various small businesses and programs that benefit its Black residents including workforce training and financial literacy, rather than giving direct payments. 

Sheryl Evans Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, believes that the scale of the amount in San Francisco should be measured against the city’s history of racist policies, including enforcing housing and school segregation. She also noted that the city, with a median home price of $1.3 million, has one of the highest costs of living in the US.

But the figure should be “somewhat realistic,” according to economist William A. Darity Jr. “Calling for $5 million payout by a local government undercuts the credibility of the reparations effort,” he argued. Darity has been for decades advocating for reparations.

He believes that Black Americans should receive at least $350,000 each in a federal reparations program, a number based on his calculation of the country’s racial wealth gap.

“We see the racial wealth gap as this core indicator of the cumulative effects over time of White racism and White supremacy on living Black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved here,” he said.

The decision San Francisco will make will impact the broader reparations movement, supporters hope that it would carve higher standards for the movement that has so far only produced meager amounts. AARAC will release a final report of its recommendations in June, and the city’s Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on these recommendations within the year.

Information for this briefing was found via MSN, CNN, NBC News, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

One thought on “San Francisco Reparations: If Not $5 Million for Each Black Resident, Then How Much?

  • March 14, 2023 6:49 PM at 6:49 pm

    William A Darity Jr has a figure that is based upon factual representation math. $5 million plus $97K annually with no taxes and $1 SF housing for 250 years showing no facts to represent that civil figure is ludicrous and destroyed credibility. Each grievance must be addressed separately and fairly by facts. Immigrants dont owe anything plus if you want tax free status you must be
    A-non profit or
    B-non citizen or resident
    Choice is $97k income means taxable income so then will citizenship be returned, I strongly doubt or support that so tax free status is not met.
    Descendant of war on drugs incarcerations has some merit but again not all qualify. Those who were targeted by race can qualify but others who truly were committing crimes cannot. Being Black Americans (not African Americans) doesn’t simply allow for payments just because. This case is a failed first attempt but failure is our best learning so relook at things in true fact that doesn’t look like greed!


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