Barack Obama says reparations for all black Americans are “justified” because the “wealth of this country was built on the backs of slaves”.
The former president claimed, however, bringing in such a program during his term in office would have been a “nonstarter” because of “white resistance”.
He made the comments during the second episode of his podcast series Renegades: Born in the USA with Bruce Springsteen, in which the pair spoke about race relations in the country.
When asked by the rock legend, 71, whether the US is prepared to consider reparations, Obama said: “If you ask me theoretically ‘Are reparations justified?’ the answer is yes.
“There’s not much question that the wealth of this country, the power of this country was built in significant part, not exclusively, maybe not even the majority of it, but a large portion of it was built on the backs of slaves.”
Obama added that even after slavery formally ended, “the systematic oppression and discrimination of black Americans” carried on under Jim Crow laws – state and local laws that enforced racial segregation.
The 59-year-old said: “(It) resulted in families not able to build up wealth, not being able to compete, and that has generational effects.
“So if you’re thinking of what’s just, you would look back and you would say the descendants of those who suffered those kinds of terrible cruel often arbitrary injustices deserve some sort of regress, some sort of compensation. A recognition.”
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Source: the Sun