Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a candidate for 2020’s presidential election, called for “reparations” to be paid to blacks to “help folks heal” from what she described as “undiagnosed and untreated trauma” caused by America’s “dark history.” She offered her remarks in an interview published Tuesday with The Root.
Partial transcript below:
THE ROOT: Should black people get reparations?
KAMALA HARRIS: I think there has to be some form of reparations. We can discuss what that is, but look, we’re looking at more than 200 years of slavery. We’re looking at almost a hundred years of Jim Crow. We’re looking at legalized segregation and, in fact, segregation on so many levels that exists today, based on race. And there has not been any kind of intervention done understanding the harm and the damage that occurred to correct course, and so we are seeing the effects of all of those years play out still today.
THE ROOT: And as president, you would be willing to lead a conversation about what reparations for black people would look like?
KAMALA HARRIS: Yeah, including things like what we should be doing to take very seriously undiagnosed and untreated trauma. Take that very seriously, and what kind of resources are we going to put in that? What kind of resources are we going to put in communities to help folks heal and be on an equal footing?
If we are pretending to be and say that we are a society that values equality under the law — look, right across the street is the United States Supreme Court. In that marble is inscribed, “Equal Under Law,” well if everyone is equal, that is a concept that we value, which we say we do, part of the foundational values and ideals of our country, equality, then we have to understand, we’re not all being born, and we’re not all living on equal ground in terms of opportunity for success. And certain things are a result of the dark history — the history of crime — that has occurred in this country, and we’re not going to be able to correct course without serious intervention.
Harris also said, “On the issue of race in America, let’s be very clear that we had years where people were talking about, ‘Are we a post-racial society?’ Which I have rejected since the moment that discussion began. No, we are not. Race is still a big issue in America.”
According to Harris, the Russian government somehow affected 2016’s presidential election with racial propaganda. She said:
[Russia] tested out different issues, different subjects, to see what would cause tension, what would draw heat to make the American public fight with each other, and the issue that attracted the most heat was race. So what does that tell us? Not only is the subject of race and how we acknowledge it and deal with it a function of America’s identity, it is also a matter of national security, because an adversarial country — Russia — figured out that the subject of race is America’s Achilles’ heel.
Asked if President Donald Trump is a “racist,” Harris responded, “I don’t think you can reach any other conclusion.”
Earlier in February, Harris expressed support for “reparations.”
Harris reiterated her rejection of the term “identity politics,” framing it as a linguistic tool used to “silence” and “shut up” those who speak “truth” about “racism.”
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