The Black community’s 40 acres and a mule are long overdue, and some Democratic nominees are embracing the idea of reparations for Black Americans as part of their campaign messaging.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke was the first candidate to speak about reparations for Black Americans during the first Democratic primary debate on Tuesday night. The issue, however, was not raised during the second debate on Wednesday evening.
Reparations has now become a national topic of interest, but has been at the forefront in the Black community since the end of slavery. Even so, nothing much has been done about it, but O’Rourke has a plan to change, according to Fox News.
The Texas native said on Tuesday that he would work side-by-side with Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to sign her reparations bill. According to Jackson Lee’s office, the legislation would,”examine the institution of slavery in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present, and further recommend appropriate remedies.”
“I want to acknowledge something that we’re all touching on, which is the very foundation of this country, that the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force,” said the former Texas congressman.
“The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and in the country today. As president I will sign into law a new voting rights act. I will focus on education, address health care disparities, but, I will also sign into Lee Sheila Jackson Lee’s reparations bill, so we can have the national conversation we waited too long in this country to have.”
The legacy of slavery and segregation and suppression is alive and well. We need to root out racism from every aspect of our society—from our economy to our healthcare system to our schools to our democracy. pic.twitter.com/lTQqKdK5qW
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 31, 2019
Author Marianne Williamson was also forthcoming about her reparations plan telling the audience that analyzing the situation is way past calculations of the “40 acres and a mule” Blacks were promised post Civil War. She believes interest is now due, plus more.
“Well, first of all, it’s not $500 billion in financial assistance, it’s $200 to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed,” said Williamson.
“That is what reparations is. We need deep truth-telling when it comes, we don’t need another commission to look at evidence. I appreciate what Congressman O’Rourke has said. It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal.”
She added, “All that a country is, is a collection of people. People heal when there’s some deep truth-telling. We need to recognize, when it comes to the economic gap between Blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with. That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there was 250 years of slavery followed by another hundred years of domestic terrorism.”
Williamson was also asked to explain how she came up with her calculations.
“If you did the math of 40 acres and a mule, given there was four to five million slaves at the end of the Civil War, and there were probably 40 acres and a mule for every family of four, if you did the math today, it would be trillions of dollars. And I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult, and $200 to $500 billion is politically feasible today because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal,” she said.
While Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has said that Native Americans should be “part of the conversation.”
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. has also introduced a Senate version of Jackson Lee’s bill to talk about reparations. In his testimony, he mentioned America hasn’t “truly acknowledge and grapple with the racism and white supremacy that tainted this country’s founding and continues to cause persistent and deep racial disparities and inequality.”