Warren Revises Position on Reparations, Calls for 'Conversations'

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March 8, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Friday called for dialogue about reparations for black Americans impacted by slavery, marking an apparent shift from her previously stated support for the payments.

"So, what I have said and will say again is I think it’s time for us to have the conversation," Warren said when asked by CNN reporter MJ Lee about reparations, NTK Network reports. "We need to address the fact that in this country, we built great fortunes and wealth on the backs of slaves and we need to address that head-on, we need to have that national conversation."

Asked about giving money to those impacted by slavery, Warren said, "Those are the conversations we will have."

"But, right now, on the money issue, you are not saying that you support it?" Lee asked.

"I’m saying that there are a lot of scholars and a lot of activists who have put multiple proposals on the table. But we’re never going to get to any of those proposals [without] an acknowledgement of the wrong of slavery and the obligation to address it."

Warren expressed support for reparations in an interview with the New York Times last month.

"We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities," Warren told the Times. "I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities."

"Ms. Warren also said she supported reparations for black Americans impacted by slavery — a policy that experts say could cost several trillion dollars, and one that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and many top Democrats have not supported," the Times wrote.

Although Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) has come out in support of reparations, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has said he opposes reparations in the form of cash payouts.

Warren has struggled to gain traction early in the Democratic primary. Polls in New Hampshire, which neighbors her home state of Massachusetts, show her in the single digits, trailing well behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sanders.