Julián Castro Backs Reparations To Compensate Descendents Of ‘People Who Were Property, Sanctioned By The State’

Written by Dana Sanchez
Julián Castro, ex secretario de Vivienda y aspirante a la candidatura presidencial demócrata en 2020, habla en la Universidad Saint Anselm en Manchester, New Hampshore, miércoles 16 de enero de 2019. (AP Foto/Mary Schwalm)

Democratic presidential candidate and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro said that if elected, he plans to establish a reparations task force in order to resolve the country’s “original sin” of slavery.

“One of the ways we should consider doing that is through reparations for people who are the descendants of slaves,” Castro said on MSNBC. “It is interesting to me that, under our Constitution and otherwise, that we compensate people if we take their property. Shouldn’t we compensate people if they were property, sanctioned by the state?”

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The U.S. will never really move forward until slavery is addressed, Castro added.

“I believe that we ought to move forward in the 21st century as one nation with one destiny, and that, until that issue is resolved, until that original sin is addressed, we may think that we’re moving forward as one nation, and I don’t think that we ever really will.”

Along with senators Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Castro is one of three presidential candidates who’ve backed reparations.

Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama and former San Antonio mayor, said he would establish a “task force” to determine how reparations would be paid out.

Reparations were long defined as direct payment to the descendants of former slaves, but that definition is changing, NBC reported. “White House hopefuls seek to solidify their ties with African-Americans whose support will be crucial to winning the Democratic nomination. But (they risk) prompting both withering criticism from Republicans and a shrug from black voters and activists if the proposals are seen as an empty gesture that simply renames existing policy ideas as reparations.”

Instead of backing the direct compensation of African Americans for the legacy of slavery, the Democratic candidates are talking about using tax credits and other subsidies, NBC reported.

Duke University economist Dr. William Darity is a wealth inequality expert and veteran on the topic of reparations.

“I want to be sure that whatever is proposed and potentially enacted as a reparations program really is a substantive and dramatic intervention in the patterns of racial wealth inequality in the United States,” Darity said. “not something superficial or minor that is labeled as reparations and then politicians say the national responsibility has been met.”