Orange County Commissioners approve resolution on slavery reparations

But it was not a unanimous vote:

“Even though the vote was 6-1, Earl McKee…was voting against one section. The way I had originally written [the resolution] he was fine with.”

McKee confirmed this on Thursday. "Let me be very clear,” McKee said. “I have no issue or concern with opening or continuing the conversation of if, how, should or when reparations should be discussed. The conversation should be how we ensure a level playing field without obstacles to anyone.”

The only way to "level the playing field" for a population that has been shackled, lynched, denied property rights, segregated, denied access to municipal water & sewer, and a whole laundry list of other discriminatory practices by government and the private sector, is to give them genuine, tangible resources. How you do that is of course the critical question, and I'm not sure the OC Commission is going to put the focus where they need to:

“I certainly don’t hold myself out as an expert,” Williams said, later adding that his thoughts on reparations are not representative of the NAACP. “I’m thinking, just speaking from my personal perspective…money. So the concept of educational grants and other things, certainly that can help, but that, in itself is not going to close that significant wealth gap.”

While not completely echoing Williams’ opinion, Price did mention economic concerns in regards to reparations. The resolution included language that supported a federally-funded universal basic income or UBI for short.

Another controversial policy that has also gained popularity in recent years, UBI is meant to assuage the impact of widespread unemployment by giving people a monthly financial stipend. Supporters argue that the societal and market effects of COVID-19 would have been greatly diminished if the United States had implemented such a program. Opponents believe UBI is prohibitively expensive, among other concerns.

Price believes UBI should be available to everyone, not just Black Americans. She later added UBI would go a long way to not only address race-based economic disparities, but it would also be a strong foundation for lawmakers to build upon a reparations program.

"There is research behind it,” Price said. “I think it helps to at least get everyone on the same level playing field.”

Whether you support UBI or not, including this in a County Resolution will have zero actual impact on African-Americans living in Orange County. It's about as close to being a (Federal) policy unicorn as you can get, a form over function distracting detour. There is language in the resolution about investing in black farms and communities and such, but it is fairly generalized. Until actual resources are allocated, this is more of a "feel good" move than anything.



Not trying to shoot this down,

but I am trying to refocus the Board to substantial actions. Not just for them, but for me too.

My ancestors had a small farm less than two miles from what is now downtown Chapel Hill, between 1820 and 1850. And they owned a handful of slaves, (between 2-4 over that 30 year period of time). I would love to see something done locally that might lift some of that burden from my shoulders, and I'm not ashamed to admit that.