Chicago Suburb Plans To Tax Marijuana To Pay Reparations To Black Citizens — No, This Is Not Satire

Written by K. Walker on December 3, 2019

If Snoop Dogg moved to this place, he could double-dip by selling his brand of weed then getting some cash for reparations.

As Illinois prepares to legalize recreational marijuana use in the New Year, a plan is being hashed out in Evanston, IL, to use a portion of the tax revenue from the sale of cannabis products to fund race-based reparations to black residents. Three percent of the tax revenue will be used to fund reparations for African American residents of Evanston for the next 10 years and cap the funding at $10 million.

The Evanston city council passed the measure 8-1 on November 25.

The marijuana tax is expected to raise between $500,000 to $700,000 per year.

According to U.S. Census Bureau Data from 2018, 16.9 percent of residents of Evanston, an affluent North Shore suburb of Chicago and the location of Northwestern University, identify as black. This is down from 22.5 percent in 2000. Evanston has one of the largest black communities in the metro area.

“Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions. This is a chance to correct that,” Robin Rue Simmons, a black alderman who represents the city’s historically black Fifth Ward, told The Washington Post. “Our disadvantage and discrimination has continued beyond outlawing Jim Crow and beyond enslavement.”

Simmons added, “This is something radical to preserve the black population and let the black community know that we see the flight.”

But the city’s reparations plan will benefit not only victims of the war on drugs. Rather, it focuses on all African American residents, who Simmons said have suffered from the city’s history of redlining and, more recently, from the recession and foreclosure crisis. As black Evanstonians are pushed out by high property taxes and predatory lending practices, the reparations plan looks to give them the money to keep living and working in the lakefront suburb, about 14 miles north of downtown Chicago.

The plan stems from the idea that African Americans should disproportionately benefit from the sale of cannabis, Simmons said, because they have been disproportionately affected by the policing of marijuana — both nationally and locally. In the past three years, nearly three-quarters of those arrested on marijuana possession charges in Evanston were African American, according to city officials.

The plan to pay reparations is controversial for several reasons:

1. The individuals who are being paid were not enslaved themselves and those paying did not enslave anyone.

2. How do you determine who gets reparations? Do you exclude blacks who are not descended from slaves?

3. What about those who are descended from slaves who are not black?

4. What about those who are descended from black slave owners like Kamala Harris is?

5. What about African Americans who are successful despite the legacy of Jim Crow and racism? Would Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas receive reparations if he lived in Evanston? How about Condoleeza Rice, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters, or Ben Carson? What about former Chicago residents like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Kanye West? Do any of them get reparations?

6. What role do personal choices play in success and failure?

7. What role do leftist governance and the systemic destruction of the black family play in achievement gaps?

In the WaPo piece, Simmons doesn’t address these problems with reparations, instead, she is blaming any disparity on racism.

Simmons says that reparations are needed because racism and the legacy of Jim Crow have kept black residents from achievement. “This is in response to the continued impact of Jim Crow. From the war on drugs, to mass incarceration, to the academic gap, the wealth divide, the opportunity gap, the achievement gap. It is all based on race.”

She believes that the money raised shouldn’t be used for programs in black communities, but direct payments to all black residents provided that they meet residency requirements.

Simmons said she wants reparations to take the form of direct payments to black residents, rather than “another diversity policy” that might fund a program or pay a third-party organization to carry out a service.

For example, a black family that’s looking to purchase a home and qualifies for credit might receive help on a down payment they otherwise couldn’t afford, she said. An African American resident who wants to beef up their résumé could get a stipend for technical training. And a black family that has owned a house in Evanston for generations might have their repairs paid for by the city.
Source: Washington Post

It seems to me that earmarking tax revenue for direct payments to certain residents who meet a race and residency requirement in an attempt to fight racism is racist in itself.

There are obviously some wrinkles that need to be ironed out.

Alderman Thomas Suffredin, the lone no vote, wrote in his newsletter to constituents last week, “In a town full of financial needs and obligations, I believe it is bad policy to dedicate tax revenue from a particular source, in unknown annual amounts, to a purpose that has yet to be determined.”

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll and on Gettr @KarenWalker