California voters are broadly opposed to paying the state’s Black residents to compensate for the longstanding harms of slavery, with opposition extending across party lines, according to a new poll released by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.
The IGS Poll found that 60% of Californians acknowledge the deep and continuing human damage caused by centuries of slavery and the segregation and persecution of Black people that continued long after slavery legally ended in 1865. But strong majorities of conservative and independent voters — and a slight majority of liberals — oppose cash payments to the descendants of slaves as recommended in June by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Reparations Task Force.
“The findings reveal the racial and political contradictions of California voters,” said G. Cristina Mora, a Berkeley sociologist and IGS co-director. “While many can empathize with the plight of Black Americans, not all of these feelings will translate into support for policies that address longstanding racial harms. … The fact that even liberals are divided indicates that campaigns for racial redress will face a steep uphill climb.”