Texas Democrat Julian Castro staked out his position as one of the most visible members of his party standing behind the idea of providing reparations to descendants of slaves in America, speaking in a town hall event live on CNN on Thursday night. The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is running for President.
Castro had previously proposed creating a “task force” that would merely study the potential for a reparations program, without expressly endorsing a policy outcome. His comments on Thursday possibly represented his strongest endorsement of a reparations program yet.
Possibly seeking to appeal to the electorally powerful African American demographic in the Democratic Primary, Castro seems to be the candidate most willing to endorse the concept of reparations, although he remains vague about what exactly descendants of slaves, who were emancipated 154 years ago in 1865, are going to get. Castro has attacked de facto Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders for his reluctance to take up the issue.
It’s no wonder Castro is extremely vague about any potential plan to make reparations to descendants of slaves- such an idea would be extraordinarily difficult to execute in policy. A great deal of Americans with family history dating back to the 1800’s and 1700’s are related to black individuals who were enslaved. It’s unclear if Castro would seek to provide cash payments exclusively to census-identifying African Americans.
There’s been a great deal of oppression throughout the history of humanity, and a considerable amount in the United States leveled out to slaves. Creating a standard in which the descendants of victimized individuals are entitled to reparations for wrongdoings that occurred more than 150 years ago could ostensibly entitle nearly everyone on the planet to compensation for historical crimes. 360,000 soldiers of the Union Army, who were almost entirely white, died in the Civil War to bring about an abolition of slavery and create a better future for the United States. It’s unlikely Castro’s call for reparations would recognize this sacrifice.
Castro may have been inspired to adopt ethnic-greviance politics from his mother, a political activist associated with the political party Raza Unida, or “United Race,” a revolutionary Chicano nationalist group seeking to organize Hispanics on the United States along ethnic lines.
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