Posted on March 12, 2024

Black New Yorkers Already Clashing Over Who Should Get Reparations as State Panel Starts

Carl Campanile, New York Post, March 10, 2024

A New York commission that will recommend whether to give reparations for slavery and discrimination to black residents hasn’t even met yet — but it’s already sparked a rift among black New Yorkers over who should be eligible for payouts.

A similar panel in California said monetary reparations should be limited only to descendants of chattel enslaved persons to the US — $360,000 per eligible person — but not for other black Americans who may have suffered from discrimination.

Even with that restriction, the pricetag for the proposal has been estimated at an eyewatering $800 billion.

However, a huge segment of New York’s black residents are not descendants of US slavery. In New York City alone, well over 500,000 people are Afro-Caribbean or African immigrants — more than 25% of the black population, census figures show.

But some New York black activists said California’s reparations package was too restrictive.

Bertha Lewis, head of the Brooklyn-based Black Institute, told The Post that reparations must be considered for all black residents, because they have suffered from decades of systemic racism resulting from slavery — even if they are not direct descendants of slaves.

“That’s a false narrative,” Lewis said.  “I don’t give a f**k what California did.”

“You can’t just say, `only descendants of slaves from the South.’  Black people faced the effects of slavery — discrimination — simply because they’re black.”

She said in many cases it will be extremely hard to document proof of ties to slavery given the scant records at the time.


But others disagreed, saying any black people who moved to the US for better opportunities have no right to reparations for slavery in this country.

“It was our choice to come here,” said Mona Davids, a black South African who moved to New York as a child.


Davids, who publishes “LittleAfrica News”,  which serves that African community in the US, said reparations advocates should also go after the African countries, where rulers rounded and sold people to slave traders.

“In many cases it was black Africans who sold slaves. Ghana is rich. Nigeria is rich,” she said.