In June, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on reparations to African Americans for the first time in more than in a decade. While reparations could take many forms, the most straightforward would be cash payments by the government to descendants of American slaves. Most Americans (67%) say the government should not make such payments, but 29% say it should, including the solid majority of black Americans (73%).
In contrast to blacks’ support for reparations, 16% of non-Hispanic white Americans say the government should make such payments to Americans who are the descendants of slaves.
While the current 29% support among all Americans is low in absolute terms, more support the idea of reparations today than did so in 2002, when 14% were in favor as the subject was making news. Since then, support is up slightly among whites, from 6% to 16%, while it has increased more dramatically among blacks — from a simple majority in 2002 to nearly three-quarters today.