Julian Castro: As President I Would Establish A Task Force For Slavery Reparations


Monday on MSNBC’s "Hardball," former HUD Secretary and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said that in order to resolve the country's "original sin" of slavery, he would establish a reparations "task force."

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: There's one position you took in the last couple of days that is getting some conversation, some of the other candidates as well have taken, that I was interested in. It was on this question of reparations, reparations, payments, to black Americans with a family legacy that can be traced back to slavery.

You said the country would be better off if it found a way to do that. And that's one of those -- it's not an issue that really has gotten a lot of sort of mainstream discussion. The most recent poll I could find on it, I think, was about two or three years -- two or three years old. It showed two-thirds of Americans oppose that idea.

There, we can put it up on the screen; 68 percent were against reparations payments.

I wonder if you could just talk a little bit more about what it is you would do as president when it came to that, and if you are worried that that sends a message to that 68 percent of Americans who say they're against it, that maybe you are out of the mainstream a little.

JULIAN CASTRO: Well, you know, this is not something that I think of through a political lens.

It -- I have long believed that this country should resolve its original sin of slavery, and that one of the ways we should consider doing that is through reparations for people who are the descendants of slaves.

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?

So I believe that that is a conversation that's worth having. And I see that as right and wrong. I don't see that as political or nonpolitical. So, if I'm president, what I said was that I would establish a task force to look at how that might be done.

I know that there's a lot of disagreement, both about whether it should be done and, if it were done, how it would be done. And I'm not naive about that. But I do think that that dark clouds still hangs over our country.

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.

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