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These California scholars want over $569 billion in reparations

One member is a ‘recognized racial justice scholar and equity consultant,’ according to her bio

The ongoing California Reparations Task Force has under consideration a number of proposals to ameliorate what it sees as the effects of racism on black individuals, including closing 10 state prisons, free college and planting trees in black neighborhoods to ensure “shade equity.”

The cost of compensating just for “housing discrimination” could total $569 billion, according to a preliminary report for an outside consulting group.

Final numbers will not be decided until later. For example, that number does not include the cost of the state “fund[ing] the statewide planting of trees to create shade equity and minimize heat islands in Black neighborhoods” nor “ eliminat[ing] anti-Black discrimination policies in the areas of artistic, cultural, creative, athletic, and intellectual life.”

Behind these efforts are not just politicians, but scholars who focus on race issues.

Professor Cheryl Grills teaches clinical psychology at Loyola Marymount University and believes that there should be an “African-centered psychology.”

”African people should, in fact, not be thought of as modified Western human functioning,” Professor Grills (pictured, left) wrote in one paper about the strategies used by the Association of Black Psychologists. Instead she argued that black researchers need “to ‘develop our own,’ African-centered psychology…that build[s] upon the history and culture of African people.”

University of California Berkeley Professor Jovan Lewis said that he wants to see the state lead the way on reparations. “We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,” Professor Lewis told The New York Times in December 2022. The paper reported on $569 billion starting point for the cost of reparations.

“The narrative around…California as a so-called free state…somehow you know adds this veneer you know of innocence,” Lewis, the chair of the department of geography, said in another interview.

He also said “slavery was the foundation for this, we aren’t just talking about the practice of slavery, we’re talking about the actual model for how African Americans have been incorporated, or not, into the fabric of American political and economic society.”

The College Fix reached out to both professors twice via email in the past week but neither responded to questions about prison abolition and the cost of the reparations plan.

Another academic associated with the University of California Los Angeles is a supporter of requiring judges and court staff to undergo “implicit bias” training.

Lisa Holder, professor of civil rights and police accountability at UCLA Law School, was  part of the passing of AB 241 and 242, two laws in California that “require all judges, attorneys, court staff and health professionals to undertake continuing education on reducing implicit bias.”

Her bio states that not only is she a “recognized racial justice scholar and equity consultant” but a “recognized Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) scholar.”

The task force member (pictured, right) “has designed and implemented diversity solutions and implicit bias trainings for non-profits, government entities, private equity, Hollywood film and television companies, and public defender offices across the country.”

She did not respond to requests for comment in the past two weeks about the proposals’ legality.

George Washington University law Professor Jonathan Turley questioned the constitutionality of reparations in a recent opinion piece in The Hill.

He cited a 1989 Supreme Court case, City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson, that “struck down a set-aside for minority businesses due to a lack of evidence of specific injuries,” according to Turley.

The law professor wrote that the reparations plans, both California and San Francisco’s, may lose in court because recipients would not be able to prove direct harm. “The reparations given in 1988 to Japanese Americans who survived World War II internment camps posed an easier issue, since the recipients were directly injured by the government and the money was meant to compensate them for their injuries.”

He said even “narrow programs” that give money to descendants of individuals harmed could cause trouble and create legal problems. “The likely legal challenges are not often considered in discussions of reparations — but they could create a highly combustible situation, if large reparations guarantees were suddenly negated,” Turley wrote.

MORE: Slave descendants question Georgetown $1 billion reparations fund

IMAGES: Loyola Marymount University; Equal Justice Society

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Jonathan Draeger is a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison pursuing a degree in Economics and a certificate in German.