And it's a long time coming:
With the support of a string of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, the idea of reparations for African-Americans is gaining traction among Democrats on Capitol Hill, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs the establishment of a commission that would develop proposals and a “national apology” to repair the lingering effects of slavery.
Nearly 60 House Democrats, including Representative Jerrold Nadler, the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, support legislation to create the commission, which has been stalled in the House for 30 years.
I read the bill last night and noticed a couple of depressing aspects, which combined together severely undercuts the potential of this Commission. First, they're only budgeting $12 million for its entire operation, which would barely scratch the surface of what needs to be researched. And then there's the timeline. One year to make their report to Congress, and then the Commission will be dissolved shortly after. And considering the Commission will also be studying the years that followed the end of slavery (critically important), that budget low-ball is even worse:
(5) following the abolition of slavery the United States Government, at the Federal, State, and local level, continued to perpetuate, condone and often profit from practices that continued to brutalize and disadvantage African-Americans, including share cropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow, redlining, unequal education, and disproportionate treatment at the hands of the criminal justice system; and
(6) as a result of the historic and continued discrimination, African-Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships including but not limited to having nearly 1,000,000 black people incarcerated; an unemployment rate more than twice the current white unemployment rate; and an average of less than 1⁄16 of the wealth of white families, a disparity which has worsened, not improved over time.
It's a damn good start, but considering the Turtle-In-Charge of the U.S. Senate couldn't even take the time to read the bill, it's doubtful it will ever make it through both houses:
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, told reporters on Tuesday. “We have tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation, elected an African-American president. I think we’re always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that.”
If by "work in progress" you mean Jim Crow and Segregation, not to mention the mass incarceration of African-American males, then yes. I guess we are a work in something, but it ain't always progress.