While federal reparations talks have all but stalled, local governments have taken up the cause and more Americans are showing support. California’s historical reparations task force is ready to end its year-long study on July 1 and present its recommendations on reparations for Black Californians who can trace their ancestry to slavery.
As more and more cities, states, and institutions publicly discuss reparations, the support for repair to Black Americans has too slowly increased, according to recent polls, The Black Wall Street Times reported.
In 2002, a mere 14 percent supported reparations for Black Americans, according to a Gallup poll conducted that year. A 2016 Marist poll revealed only 26 percent of the 1,200 adults surveyed nationwide said they believe the government should pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. By 2019, a Gallup poll asking a similar question found that 29 percent of adults favored reparations. Pew Research conducted a reparations poll in 2021, following a nationwide racial reckoning after the 2020 police murder of George Floyd; that poll of nearly 4,000 adults found support for reparations stood at 30 percent nationwide. Black Americans, young Americans, and those who identified as Democrats were the main supporters.
A poll released in December 2022 by Rasmussen found that an incredible 38 percent of likely voters favored some form of reparations for slavery. This marks a 10 percent increase in support from previous polls. Still, 54 percent opposed or strongly opposed reparations, according to the poll. Yet this represented a 10-point increase from a similar poll Rasmussen conducted in January 2021.
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While support is growing, there remains a wide gap in white support for reparations, particularly in relation to cash reparations.
White Americans view the prospect of reparations mostly negatively, a 2021 Pew Research Center survey found. Three in 10 U.S. adults say descendants of people enslaved in the U.S. should be repaid in some way, such as by giving land or money. About seven in ten (68 percent) say these descendants should not be repaid.
Around three-quarters of Black adults (77 percent) say the descendants of people enslaved in the U.S. should be repaid in some way, while only 18 percent of white Americans say the same.
A crowd listens to speakers at a reparations rally outside City Hall in San Francisco on March 14, 2023. Economists for a California reparations task force estimate the state owes Black residents at least $800 billion for harms in policing, housing and health. The preliminary estimate will be discussed at the March 29, 2023, meeting of the state reparations task force. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)