During his new joint podcast with singer Bruce Springsteen, former President Obama called reparations for Black Americans “justified” in theory but blamed the “politics of white resistance” for making them a “non-starter” during his administration.
“If you ask me theoretically, ‘Are reparations justified?’ The answer is yes,” Obama said.
“There’s not much question that the wealth, 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. And what I saw during my presidency was 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,” he continued.
“All that made the prospect of actually proposing any kind of coherent, meaningful reparations program struck me as, politically, not only a nonstarter but potentially counterproductive,” Obama added.
Obama then explained that “even after the end of formal slavery, and the continuation of Jim Crow, the systematic oppression and discrimination of Black Americans resulted in Black families not being able to build up wealth, not being able to compete, and that has generational effects.”