Sherman R. Frederick/Publisher
This might be an uncomfortable question, but somebody ought to ask it: Why is California only now looking to compensate African Americans enslaved 150 years ago.
Slavery of Blacks existed here at the time of the Gold Rush, of course. You can read more about that at the California Historical Society blog. Google it.
You’ll find California enslavement of African Americans was not the long-established institution that existed in, say, Virginia and Georgia. We’re also not talking about the kind of slavery (and near genocide) imposed on indiginous peoples in California at the hands of the Spanish and Americans.
Look, all I’m sayin’ is if we’re going to seriously talk about compensating descendants of slaves in California, shouldn’t we also be including all those enslaved and other groups who were treated like slaves or worse — Chinese immigrants come to mind.
CalMatters reports California is looking into “how the state might compensate African Americans for slavery and its lingering effects.”
“The nine-member task force will draft an apology to Black Californians and recommend ways the state might make up for discriminatory policies, which could include issuing direct payments to the descendants of enslaved people or passing laws to close racial disparities.”
The idea of direct payments to descendants of slaves seems like a fool’s errand. For example, will Vice President Kamala Harris, a descendant of a slave and a slave owner, get a check or should she pay more? I’m not trying to be funny. How will that work?
Let’s hope that whatever the state comes up with, it is more substantial than what the Marin County Board of Supervisors did last week. The county is working on a way for homeowners to disavow covenants put on property that prohibited Blacks from buying the house. That FDR-era practice has long been illegal and any covenants that exist now on old legal documents have no force of law. But the county wants to give residents with such covenants, if there are any still left, to make an anti-racist affirmation.
This kind of meaningless conceit seems to be happening a lot post George Floyd. The Independent Journal summed it up nicely when it reported this exchange at the county meeting.
“This is so empty,” Eva Chrysanthe told the Supervisors. “It doesn’t provide any restitution.”
That was followed by Damian Morgan, chair of the Marin City Community Services District board, who told the white supervisors that his African American family moved to Marin from Kansas and was shut out of housing markets.
“What are you going to do to pay us back?” Morgan asked.
And there’s the rub, isn’t it?
How will the state committee come up with restitution for the sins committed against African-Americans in California? Will it be an intellectually honest exercise with historical accuracy, or will it be a Marin Board of Supervisors kind of deal — a meaningless tip of the hat to the emotions dujour post George Floyd.
Stand by. It will be immensely controversial.
CHURCHES CLOBBER GOVERNOR
One of the many big errors Gov. Gavin Newsom committed during his COVID reign of stupid rules is his unconstitutional treatment of places of worship.
He treated churches in California as if the First Amendment didn’t exist. Stand by, because everyone is going to pay the price for his mistake.
Last week Newsom agreed to two settlements that block the state from imposing new coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship tougher than those for similar secular activities, Calmatters reports. Taxpayers will pay millions when all is said and done.
Paul Jonna, a lawyer with the Thomas More Society, which represented the plaintiffs in the two cases explained that the settlements “memorialize what the Supreme Court has already articulated. … If it’s okay for Costco, it’s okay for churches. That’s the standard.”
P.S.: The state has not responded to requests for comment. That happens a lot to losers after getting their arses kicked.
MEMORIAL DAY DEATHS
CHP tweeted that on Memorial day 35 people were killed in traffic accidents. It’s a 13% increase over 2020, which I get given the pandemic. But I don’t understand the fact that most (60-plus percent) of the people killed this last long weekend were not wearing seat belts. It’s 2021 and people still aren’t buckling up?
AN IMMENSE TRAGEDY
One single wildfire last year destroyed a tenth of the world’s mature giant sequoias. “I cannot overemphasize how mind-blowing this is for all of us. These trees have lived for thousands of years. They’ve survived dozens of wildfires already,” said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
The tragedy was first reported in the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper.
ONE MORE THING
Things to do today:
— Put vanilla pudding in a Mayo jar and eat in public.
— Follow joggers in your car blasting the song “Eye of the Tiger” for encouragement.
— Become a doctor and change your last name to Acula.
— Change name to Simon. Speak in third person.
OK, that’ll do it for today. Thanks for your time. Until next week, adhere to the hippie credo: Be kind and always question authority.
(Sherman Frederick is the editor and publisher of Marinscope Community Newspapers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 415-408-1073.)