The Mayor of Oakland, California, Libby Schaaf, is experimenting with a program that hands out $500 a month to minorities, foregin nationals, and the homeless. And seemingly excluding white households living in similar impoverished conditions.
According to CNN, the “Oakland Resilient Families Program” will give the cash handout to families with at least one minor child, selecting families at random from an online database:
To qualify for the Oakland Resilient Families payments, families must have at least one child under 18. Their income must be at or below the area’s median income: around $59,000 for a family of three.
But half of the available spots will be reserved for very low-income families — those who earn below 138% of the federal poverty level — or, about $30,000 per year for a family of three.
An online, multilingual screening form will be released later this spring and summer, after which families will be chosen at random to receive the payments. The program is also open to undocumented and/or unsheltered families. Because recipients will not be required to work for the payments, the money is not considered taxable income.
The new program is reportedly funded by private donations and it will select 600 families at random for the payments over a year and half. Each family will receive $9,000 per family, thereby distributing $5.4 million out of $6.75 million that the organization has raised so far.
Mayor Libby Schaaf praised the “guaranteed income” program in a statement: “The poverty we all witness today is not a personal failure, it is a systems failure. Guaranteed income is one of the most promising tools for systems change, racial equity, and economic mobility we’ve seen in decades.”
Schaaf’s reference to “racial equity” shows the rising trend of antiracism, a concept popularized by Ibram X. Kendi which argues in favor of racial discrimination for the purpose of achieving equality between ethnicities. The city’s statement makes this explicit, declaring one of its objectives is to “eliminate racial disparities.” It points to a data survey titled the Oakland Equity Index, which reports, on average, the city’s white households earn significantly more than minority households:
The median income for White households was highest ($110,000) and the median income for African American households was lowest ($37,500). The median income for Asian households ($76,000) was similar to the citywide median income ($73,200), while Latino households fell below the citywide median with a median income of $65,000. The median income for White households was 2.93 times the median income of African American households.
The Daily Mail noted that, according to the Oakland Equity Index, “around 8 percent of the city’s white residents, approximately 10,000 people, live in poverty.”
The city’s statement does not make any mention of assistance for impoverished white families. The statement only clarifies “BIPOC families” (black and indigenous people of color) as possible recipients.