Bernie Sanders & Reparations: He Supports Addressing Massive Inequality from Legacy of Slavery

Getty Bernie Sanders

During the CNN Town Hall tonight, Bernie Sanders was asked for his opinion on reparations. You can watch his answer below.

“There is legislation that I like introduced … called the 10-20-30 which focuses federal resources in a very significant way under distressed communities — communities that are a high level of poverty. … As I just indicated, I think we have to do everything that we can to end institutional racism in this country. It is not acceptable to me that the rate of childhood poverty among the African American community is over 30 percent in this country. That is beyond belief that African Americans die of cancer at higher rates than whites. So we’re going to do everything we can to put resources into distressed communities and improve lives for those people who have been hurt by the legacy of slavery.”

So Wolf Blitzer asked for Sanders’ specific viewpoint on reparations. Sanders asked, “What does that mean? … What I’ve just said is that I think we must do everything that we can to address the massive levels of disparity that exist in this country.”

Blitzer quoted Elizabeth Warren saying they need systematic structural changes to address black communities that have had steeper hills to climb. And he said Julian Castro said the country would be better if they found a way to do that.

Sanders added, “I agree with what Elizabeth said.” And essentially yes, what Sanders had said was similar to what Blitzer quoted Warren as saying.

So Blitzer asked if he would support reparations, like Warren did. And Sanders said that Warren’s response was basically what his response was.

“In other words, as a result of the legacy of slavery, you have massive levels of inequality. It has to be addressed and it has to be addressed now.”

Blitzer quoted Sanders saying in 2016 that reparations would be divisive, and Sanders said it depended on what the reparations meant.

So, in summary, it appears that Sanders said that he did support the same concept that reparations seek to address: fixing the massive inequality that has resulted from the legacy of slavery.