Warren Joins Harris in Supporting Reparations for Black Americans

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images
February 22, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) told the New York Times she supported government reparations for African Americans affected by slavery.

Warren followed in the footsteps of fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), who told the radio show "The Breakfast Club" she agreed such a measure was necessary to combat discrimination in the United States.

"We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations," Warren told the Times. "We need systemic, structural changes to address that."

Warren did not elaborate to the newspaper about her support for reparations, but the Times noted it came amid her calls for government assistance to those who are victims of "redlining," a term for denying mortgages in poor or minority areas.

Warren, who has had to apologize multiple times after claiming in the past to be "American Indian" and releasing a DNA test showing a distant Native American relative, needs to make strong inroads with minorities if she wishes to capture the party's nomination in a crowded field.

In a campaign stop Saturday in Georgia, Warren leaned into issues surrounding race during her speech:

"Why has the path gotten so rocky and so steep for so many millions of families, and why is it rockier and steeper for families of color? This is not right," she said.

"Race matters," she said later, after discussing past and present discrimination faced by African Americans. "We've got to call it out, and we've got to make real change."

She also tweeted Friday about the gap in white and black home ownership rates in the United States, repeating her message about how "race matters."

The Times noted reparations could cost the government trillions and have been opposed by former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the party's past two nominees.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) told "Meet The Press" in 2016, after being challenged by the Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates on why he opposed reparations, that he wanted to look to the future.

"We have got to invest in the future," he said. "What we have got to do is address poverty in America, something that very few people talk about and especially poverty in the African-American community and the Latino community."