It’s one of the most talked-about political possibilities in America at any given time, and it could be just months away from becoming a reality.
I’m talking, of course, about reparations for slavery: A concept in which those descended from slaves who lived in America some 150-odd years ago would be given some sort of penance for the sins of the past.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why this is so controversial, as many of those who might be on the hook for the payments would have had nothing to do with slavery. Ever.
That hasn’t stopped the Biden White House from seriously considering moving forward with the idea.
White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told “Axios on HBO” that it’s “doable” for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.
Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.
A House panel heard testimony on the legislation last week.
“I think that [creation of a commission] will pass,” Richmond said.
What they’re saying: Richmond said that while the timeline for the commission isn’t knowable, “if you start talking about free college tuition to [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] and you start talking about free community college in Title I and all of those things, I think that you are well on your way.”
“We have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African-Americans,” he said. “[W]e have to do stuff now.”
Biden has been largely criticized for his subservience to the radical contingent of the Democratic Party, and his willingness to go ahead with a reparations plan is likely to cement that radical legacy.