Posted on April 17, 2024

California Moves to Create Genealogy Office for Reparations Eligibility

Kenneth Schrupp, Center Square, April 15, 2024

The California Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would create a new state agency for implementing the state’s reparations task force recommendations and determine which individuals qualify as descendants of American slaves.


After passing the Judiciary Committee, the bill kept its provision defining descendant as including “descendants of a free Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century,” but amended its section that had included “African American descendants of a chattel enslaved person [living in the United States]” to now more widely include “descendants of an African American chattel enslaved person in the United States.”

According to analysis shared by the National African American Reparations Commission, lineage-based reparations programs such as these could result in white Americans becoming the majority of those qualified for reparations.

“{snip} A large-scale DNA study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics 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,” wrote Michael Harriot. {snip}