City of Oakland Mayor Is Branded Racist for Giving Families of Color $500 a Month If They Earn Under $59,000
Bevan Hurley, Daily Mail, March 24, 2021
A program to give $500 monthly checks to low-income families of color in Oakland, California, has been criticized for explicitly excluding the 10,000 white residents living in poverty in the city.
The lottery system, funded by private philanthropists, will see the no-strings-attached checks go to households with an annual income of less than $59,000 if they have at least one child. The other half of the $500 checks will go to those earning under $30,000.
The same report states around 8 per cent of the city’s white residents, approximately 10,000 people, live in poverty.
Schaaf told the Associated Press the reason for limiting eligibility to black, indigenous and other people of color was that white households in Oakland make on average about three times as much as black households.
The announcement sparked an angry debate online, as hundreds of commentators on Reddit were critical of the move.
One commenter labeled it ‘pure racism’.
The group behind the scheme, Oakland Resilient Families, said the idea for race-based payments began in 2020 when Mayor Schaaf pledged to bring a guaranteed income pilot to Oakland.
It states she was inspired in part by Stockton, California, which in 2019 started giving some residents earning under $46,000 per year a monthly check of $500.
Stockton’s plan, launched under previous Mayor Michael Stubbs, has been widely praised as bringing greater economic prosperity to the city, and identified as a potential blueprint for a Federal universal basic of income.
Oakland Resilient Families, said it planned to steer half of the monthly checks towards black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in East Oakland.