In a new episode of his “Renegades” podcast with Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama revealed that the “politics of white resistance” prevented him from pursuing a national plan for reparations during his presidency.
via: New York Post
Former President Barack Obama said he supported reparations for African Americans but decided the issue was a “non-starter” during his administration because of “white resistance.”
Saying reparations were “justified,” Obama said that “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.?”??
The former two-term president said even after slavery was abolished, the “systematic oppression and discrimination of black Americans continued under Jim Crow.”??
Despite that, Obama said he came to the conclusion that a push for reparations? would go nowhere.
“And what I saw during my presidency was the politics of white resistance and resentment. The talk of ‘welfare queens’ and the talk of the ‘undeserving poor.?’? And the backlash against affirmative action,” Obama said? in a podcast talk with rocker Bruce Springsteen called “Renegades: Born in the USA.”
“All that made the prospect of actually proposing any kind of coherent, meaningful reparations program struck me as, politically, not only a nonstarter but potentially counterproductive?,” he added. ?
Obama’s comments signal something of an about-face as he appeared to oppose reparations during his 2008 presidential campaign when he said the ? “?the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed.?”??
The podcast was released Monday on Spo?tify as part of a partnership with the former president’s Higher Ground production company.
Reparations have been debated for decades, without any results.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) introduced a bill in Congress that would fund a study and create proposals on reparations.
“The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies,” according to the legislation.
The White House said President Biden would be open to naming a group to study the issue.
“He certainly would support a study of reparations,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing earlier this month. “He understands we don’t need a study to take action right now on systemic racism, so he wants to take actions within his own government in the meantime.”
The conversation was included in Obama and Springsteen’s “American Skin: Race in the United States” episode — the third episode to arrive from their “Renegades” podcast. Listen to the full episode below.