Julián Castro Makes Case for Reparations: We’ve Never Fully Addressed the ‘Original Sin of Slavery’

REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro expounded on his support of reparations on Thursday, saying that America has a moral obligation to address the “original sin of slavery.”

During a CNN “Town Hall,” a college student recounted Castro’s view on race issues, asking what the “best way” to implement reparations would be.

The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development responded by thanking him for his support and the question.

“People have asked me about reparations and the way I think about this is that I believe that we have never fully addressed in this country the original sin of slavery,” he said. “And that because of that, we’ve never truly healed as a country.”

“I’ve said that if we compensate people under our Constitution if we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were considered property?” he added, enforcing the message there are some intergenerational wounds time cannot heal.

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The presidential candidate then refuted the common argument that this is an irrelevant issue, referencing his answer to an example of what he would say to a 25-year-old, who doesn’t believe that slavery affects their generation:

“That 25-year-old person never fought in the Pacific, that 25-year-old person never had a hand in writing the Constitution of our great country, that 25-year-old person never marched with the women who were marching for the power to vote, they didn’t march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.”

Castro went on to describe that it is unjust for Americans to reap the benefits of the past without paying dues to our “moral debts.”

“Even though we weren’t there in past generations, we’ve inherited a lot of moral assets, but you know what?” he proclaimed. “We’ve also inherited some moral debts and one of those debts that we’ve never paid is the debt for that original sin of slavery.”

Castro also expressed his support for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-Texas) proposed House bill, HR 40, which would create a commission to study reparations and consider solutions for African Americans.

The presidential hopeful continued to push the message for reparations that the “process here is just as important as a result,” urging there is no one “best way” to do it because of the issue’s complexity.

A number of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have spoken in support of reparations, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has also introduced a bill in the Senate that mirrors Rep. Lee’s proposal.

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