EVANSTON, IL — After news of the City Council’s vote to approve the first allocation of funding from the Evanston Reparations Fund hit national and international wire services Monday night, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah congratulated Black Evanstonians but suggested the city’s Restorative Housing Program does not qualify as “real reparations.”

“With these housing grants, Black Americans can finally fulfill their lifelong dreams of gentrifying a white neighborhood,” Noah joked during Tuesday’s broadcast of the Comedy Central show.

“And Kudos to Evanston, Illinois, especially since I assume whoever the ‘Evans’ guy the city was named after was a huge racist.”

John Evans, the city’s namesake, was one of the founders of Northwestern University, the chair of its board for more than four decades and the territorial governor of Colorado during the Civil War.

A 2014 report about his involvement in the Sand Creek Massacre of about 150 Native Americans — mostly women and children — concluded that the university had “perpetuated a collective amnesia” about the 1864 incident.

Noah said it was great that the first $400,000 of the more than $10 million pledged to Evanston’s municipal reparations fund, which is funded by recreational cannabis sales tax revenue, would go to practical things like promoting homeownership in the Black community.

“But keep in mind, Black people have been through a lot of s**** over the last 400 years. So, some of that money should also be to just give Black people a good time, you know, help them relax by going to the spa, or getting a facial, or buying a stress ball for whenever Kanye West tweets something,” he said.

“Basically, what I’m saying is, it’s not real reparations unless you give the descendants of slavery actual money and let them choose how they want to spend it — as if they’re adults.”

The “Daily Social Distancing Show” host is a native of South Africa, where the post-Apartheid government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a reparations committee in 1995. In 2003, the government approved reparations payments of about $4,000 each to nearly 20,000 people who were found to have suffered human rights abuses after testifying before the commission.

Rather than addressing the harms of slavery, Evanston’s local reparations program identifies housing discrimination resulting from city policies or inaction between the City Council’s establishment of a zoning code in 1919 and a fair housing ordinance in 1969.

The city’s history of racially discriminatory zoning and ‘redlining’ to restrict where Black residents could own property is documented in a 77-page report prepared last year for its Reparations Subcommittee.

Noah concluded the segment by congratulating all Black Evanston residents — as well as the white people he joked might try to game the system.

“Well, my 23andMe says I’m actually 3 percent ‘Africa,'” he said, mimicking such an attempt. “So…”

First Evanston Reparations Fund Initiative: $25,000 Housing Grants
Outside Group Offers $75,000 For Cash Payments To Black Evanston Residents
Evanston Reparations Housing Program Goes Before City Council
Groundbreaking Evanston Reparations Program Takes Shape
Future Weed Revenue Will Fund Evanston’s New Reparations Program

Watch The Daily Show clip:

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