Dallas County, TX Just Unintentionally Voted for Slavery Reparations


By MBD, Political Blind Spot

In a dramatic move Tuesday, African American commissioner John Wiley Price introduced a Juneteenth resolution in celebration of the end of slavery in America. Now, officially, Dallas County’s population of 2.5 million residents now officially stand for “monetary and substantial reparations” for African Americans’ suffering.

This position was taken, apparently unintentionally after the County Commission approved a resolution that the white commissioners never bothered to read.

Commissioner John Wiley Price introduced the resolution which passed unanimously. According to the Dallas Morning News:

The “Juneteenth Resolution,” commemorating the day slaves in Texas learned of their freedom, seemed from its description to be just another routine proclamation. Others approved on Tuesday expressed support for Men’s Health Month — it’s June — the American Kidney Fund, and an employee in the tax office who’s been on the job for 25 years.

But Price’s resolution went beyond taking note of Juneteenth; it included a long list of injustices endured by blacks, from slavery to Jim Crow to predatory lending practices. Then, in its final paragraph, it declared that the suffering of African-Americans should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.”

Price read the entire document aloud at the meeting. But that happens with every resolution, and the commissioners didn’t seem to be listening with a critical ear. With no discussion,  Price’s resolution was approved by voice vote.

Unfortunately for the otherwise all white commissioners, they are “not necessarily used to reading through, trying to figure out whether there’s anything controversial in” these voice-vote resolutions, according to Matthew Watkins, who was present at the meeting. In the video below, Watkins added that, just listening to the resolution read aloud, “I didn’t understand the ramifications myself.”

Only an hour after the vote, one Republican changed his “yes” vote to an “abstention,” The Dallas Observer reports the following:

“I do not support reparations, and I do not support one of the statements he made, which was that the United States was derelict in his promise to African Americans,” Cantrell told the Dallas Observer. “I think Commissioner Price went too far, and I can’t support that.”

“I had no opportunity to review it, to see what was in the resolution,” he added. “As Commissioner Price was reading this I was trying to find a copy because it sounded like he was going way over what he typically does.”

Price said it was a mistake that his fellow commissioners had not received written copies of the resolution before the vote. He explained that the move was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ case for black reparations which ran in last month’s Atlantic,

Reprinted with permission from Political Blind Spot.