“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country.”
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., on Monday introduced a bill that would explore slavery reparations as a way of ending American “white supremacy.”
In filing the proposed legislation in the Senate, Booker positioned himself as a leader on an issue that has become trendy among progressives and a hot topic in the 2020 presidential campaign, in which he is a candidate.
The measure is a companion to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in January by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, which would study the impact of slavery and racism against African Americans and make recommendations on reparations for descendants of slaves.
A similar reparations bill was first introduced 30 years ago by then-Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.
According to Booker, racism continues to prop up white domination of blacks in the United States, and his bill is a step toward changing that.
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country,” he said in a statement. “Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations.”
“Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like ‘G.I. Bill’ discrimination and redlining,” Booker added.
At least eight other Democratic presidential candidates have voiced some degree of support for reparations: Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as housing secretary under President Barack Obama, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and high-tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
That reparations have become a mainstream issue indicates the success of progressives in pushing identity and race to the center of American politics. Even The New York Times’ conservative opinion columnist David Brooks last month declared himself a convert to the idea.