Folks have been challenging the validity of Senator Bernie Sanders’ position as a civil rights activist, but also his sincere interest in the Black community. A video has been circulating social media via The Uptake, where the Democratic presidential candidate was asked about reparations for Black folks and evaded the issue, while insisting that restitution should be afforded to Brown people, as well as poor whites in rural areas.
Felicia Perry, an artist who appeared at the North Minneapolis Forum sponsored by NOC asked Sanders, “So the question, specifically, my Black son – okay, I know you’re scared to say Black, I know you’re scared to say reparations because it seems like every time we talk about Black people and us getting something for the systematic oppression and exploitation of our people we have to include every other person of color. So, today, can we please talk about, specifically, Black people and reparations?”
Bernie, who has been asked about reparations for Black folks once before and stated that it would be “divisive,” maintained a similar stance.
“What I just indicated in my view, and you and I may have a disagreement on this because it’s not just Black, it is Latino, there are areas in America in poor rural areas where it’s whites. So, I believe the country, which has more income and wealth in equality than any other country, then yeah, the time is long overdue to start investing in poor countries,” Sanders said.
Noticeably shifting the conversation away from reparations to poverty, the Vermont senator continued, “We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth. Especially within the African American community. So when I…I’ve said Black 50 times, that’s the 51st time, but this is a national issue.”
“What we want and what I believe we should do is to invest most heavily in those communities most in need,” Sanders added. “And when you have 35 percent of Black children living in poverty. When you have half of the kids in this country in public school on free or reduced lunches, when youth unemployment in the African American community is 51 percent, those are the exact kinds of communities that you invest in.”
Interestingly enough, Sanders has said he is a “strong co-sponsor” of Senator Cory Booker‘s HR 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, according to IBW21.
Sanders has been called out in the past for failing to be able to point out a legislation he has led in support of the Black community. And now, he chose an “all lives matter” approach when discussing reparations, specifically for Black people.
What a time.