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Bernie Sanders says he would not support reparations for African-Americans as president.
“Its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil,” he told Fusion in an interview. “Second of all, I think it would be very divisive.”
The Vermont senator called for “massive investments in rebuilding our cities,” creating millions of decent-paying jobs, and making public colleges and universities tuition-free.
The notion of reparations—compensating descendants of slaves—was thrust into the national conversation by a 2014 cover story in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates that outlined the economic history of institutional racism and white supremacy.
Sanders has a comprehensive racial justice plan that has won praise from black activists for its emphasis on state violence against black people. He has also called for a national apology for slavery.
Sanders spoke to Fusion before the Iowa Brown & Black Forum. At that forum, his main opponent for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was asked whether reparations should be studied. She did not give a direct answer.
“I think we should start studying what investments we need to make in communities to help individuals and families and communities move forward,” she said. “And I am absolutely committed to that.”