by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Some Democrats running for the White House in 2020 have made it clear they support some form of program to make amends to black Americans for more than 200 years of slavery.
But there’s one word nearly of them are dodging: “Reparations.”
Sen. Kamala Harris of California first opened the door to a discussion about reparations this month. She was asked on a radio show what her position is on the controversial issue and indicated she supports some action.
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“America has a history of 200 years of slavery,” she said. “We had Jim Crow. We had legal segregation in America for a very long time. We’ve got to recognize back to that earlier point, people aren’t starting out on the same base, recognize that, give people a lift up.”
When asked directly if she’s for some kind of reparations, she said, “Yes I am.” But she never used the word herself.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also indicated she favors some sort of action without describing this as “reparations.”
Instead, she talked about the need to “talk about the right way to address it and make change.” When asked about reparations for Native Americans, she said that should also be “part of the conversation.”
And on Monday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was asked about reparations on CNN and whether it was on purpose or not, he also declined to use the word.