- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2021

Former President Barack Obama said slavery reparations for Black Americans are “justified” but that the “politics of White resistance” during his presidency made the effort “unattainable.”

During his new “Renegades” podcast with rock legend Bruce Springsteen, the former Democratic president argued that the descendants of slaves, who had suffered “terrible, cruel, often arbitrary injustices,” are deserving of “some sort of compensation.”

“So if you ask me theoretically: ‘Are reparations justified?’ The answer is yes,” Mr. Obama said. “There’s not much question that the wealth of this country, the power of this country was built in significant part — not exclusively, maybe not even the majority of it — but a large portion of it was built on the backs of slaves.

“So this then brings us to, could you actually get that kind of justice?” he continued. “Could you get a country to agree and own that history? And my judgment was that, as a practical matter, that was unattainable. We can’t even get this country to provide decent schooling for inner-city kids.

“And what I saw during my presidency was that the politics of White resistance and resentment — the talk of ‘welfare queens’ and the talk of the ‘undeserving poor’ and the backlash against affirmative action — all that made the prospect of actually proposing any kind of coherent, meaningful reparations program struck me as, politically, not only a non-starter but potentially counterproductive,” he added.

Mr. Obama‘s comments come amid a new push from Democratic lawmakers for slavery reparations.

The White House said last week that President Biden, who served as Mr. Obama‘s vice president, supports a bill by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that would establish a commission to study the issue and put forth a proposal on implementation.

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