Bernie Sanders Finally Addresses the Question of Reparations

Bernie Sanders Finally Addresses the Question of Reparations

He'd make reparations by investing in low-income communities.

Published April 7, 2016

Wait, did Bernie Sanders just go there?

On Wednesday night, at Philadelphia's Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, the Democratic presidential hopeful committed to formally apologizing for slavery on behalf of the United States if he is to become the next president. He did, however, go on to say that he does not support the idea of a "check" as a form of reparations for slavery. Instead, he would direct the federal government making reparations in the form of investing in low-income communities.

So, though it seems like he just made a bold step in holding the government accountable for the gross injustices inflicted upon Black people, it sounds like his endgame is just the same socialist platform he's been running on all along.

"There's nothing that anybody can do to undo the deaths and misery, how many people we don't even know who died on the way over here in the ships," Sanders said. "I think my view is pretty close to President Obama's," he continued. "As everybody in this room knows, what we're seeing in many African-American communities, outrageously high levels of unemployment, inadequate education, inadequate healthcare." Sander framed this as a form of reparations, saying, "I think what we have got to do is invest in those communities who need that...investment the most."

Sanders has come under scrutiny in the past when he said that traditional reparations are a dead-end issue with Congress. The approach to reparations that he framed is the same position that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, has also been a proponent for. Still, many leading Black thinkers, foremost among them Ta-Nehisi Coates, have criticized Bernie's reluctance to include reparations among his radical policy initiatives. spoke to Neighborhoods Organizing for Change's Mike Griffin, who said, "Hopefully by the end of the election we're going to get him to say specifically he wants to invest in communities that have been harmed historically, that are still being harmed systematically, and that all stemmed from slavery."

At the event, Sanders reflected on slavery in America further. "Truth is not always an easy thing," he said. "And a lot of things that we have done in this country are shameful, we've got to recognize that."

The Black vote has been important to both Sanders and Clinton, see how the two Democratic candidates discuss the key issues that matter the most to the African-American community with BET News: 

(Photo: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Written by Evelyn Diaz


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