California's NEW 'Genealogy Office' To Hand Out Checks Based On DNA Results

By Tommy Wilson | Wednesday, 17 April 2024 05:15 AM
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California legislators are advancing a proposal to establish a "genealogy office" tasked with determining an individual's eligibility for reparations.

This move comes as the state continues to explore controversial measures to allocate substantial funds to individuals who assert they are descendants of slaves.

Previous proposals suggested that reparations could be distributed to anyone identifying as Black. However, the current initiative seeks to establish an agency responsible for assessing eligibility, potentially involving DNA testing of applicants.

As reported by The Center Square, SB 1403, sponsored by State Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, proposes the creation of the California American Freedmen Affairs Agency (CAFA). The bill instructs CAFA to implement recommendations from the state's reparations task force. This legislative body suggested that eligible Black residents of California could be entitled to up to $1.2 million, according to CalMatters.

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The task force's primary recommendation was the establishment of CAFA as a cabinet-level agency. CAFA would be responsible for implementing any of the Task Force's recommendations that are approved by the state legislature and signed by the governor. Additionally, CAFA would establish a "Genealogy Office" responsible for developing and assisting with the process of determining individuals' eligibility for "descendant" status.

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Following approval by the Judiciary Committee, the bill maintained its clause defining "descendant" as including "descendants of a free Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century." However, it revised a section referring to "African American descendants of a chattel enslaved person [living in the United States]" to include "descendants of an African American chattel enslaved person in the United States."

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An analysis by the National African American Reparations Commission warns of a potential risk that a lineage-based reparation program could result in a significant number of white individuals also becoming eligible. The analysis highlights that California's population is 6.5 percent Black and 72 percent white. It cites a large-scale DNA study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, which concluded that nationwide, about 3.5 percent of people who identify as white, including around 5 percent of white Californians, have at least one percent African ancestry.

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In June of last year, the California Task Force on Reparations released its final report on the reparations question. The 1000-page document concluded that every Black person should be eligible for a payment of $1.2 million for past injustices.

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The report stated, "Reparative apologies situate the harms of the past in society’s present injustices, pay tribute to victims, and encourage communal reflection to ensure the historic wrongs are never forgotten and never repeated." It continued, "Apologies alone are inadequate reparations to victims. But when combined with material forms of reparations, apologies provide an opportunity for communal reckoning with the past and repair for moral, physical, and dignitary harms."

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Despite the state's apparent commitment to redressing historical wrongs, it is noteworthy that California was never a slave state. Its admission to the Union in 1850 was contingent upon its status as a free state, meaning slavery was prohibited within its borders.

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