Eric Swalwell Backs Reparations on Comedy Central: ‘Original Sin of Slavery’ Never ‘Rightfully Dealt With’

Appearing Monday on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, longshot 2020 White House hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) endorsed creating a committee on reparations for African-American communities to address what he described as the United States’ “original sin of slavery.”

Eric Swalwell is the latest of several Democrat presidential candidates, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) to endorse the creation of a committee on reparations. Earlier this year, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) sponsored house bill H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study a proposal for reparations and consider a “national apology” for slavery.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

TREVOR NOAH: You running in this game, there is one thing that is going to hang over your head and that is, as you joked, the one thing you joked about as well, is you are another white man. You said that, not my words. I see you for you, I see you for you, right? I don’t see color. You had an interesting response to this. You said that you understand that you’re in this position and you understand there will be certain blind spots that you have and places where your information is not complete because of who you are and that’s when you will look to others.

The criticism has been by some, by that definition, you should be making way for somebody else. How do you say to somebody,” Hey, vote for me, another white guy,” when there are people of color who are running, if by your words as you’re saying, they don’t have the blind spots that you have?

ERIC SWALWELL: I believe I do see other identities and any white male running has to acknowledge “white male privilege.” That is real and you should acknowledge it. You should also acknowledge that for communities of color, particularly African-American communities, I think we have an original sin of slavery that we’ve not wholly and rightfully dealt with and I’m supporting creating a committee on reparations to figure out how to deal with that and make sure we right communities that have been wronged by investing the communities by education, healthcare.

Because, even me growing up, first in my family to go to college, it would have been hard if I were a young black man, the criminal justice system, it would have cost more for me to go to college, African-Americans take on more student debt. It would have cost more for healthcare. So you have to see and understand and experience it. When I say “Pass the mic,” I mean put together a diverse team to speak to the issues when you might not necessarily be the right person to speak to the issues.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.