Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate, has taken a bold stance on the issue of reparations by expressing his support for them.
This divergence from his usual moderate positions could be a calculated move to draw voters away from President Joe Biden, who has yet to take a definitive stance on reparations.
When asked about the subject earlier this year, the White House declined to provide an answer, instead opting to let Congress handle it.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters:
We understand that there’s a legislation on the Hill currently on this, on the study of reparations and we think Congress is the appropriate venue for consideration on such action. And so, we’re going to leave it there for Congress to decide, to let them go through their process that they’re taking at this moment.
Kennedy said that he supports using federal tax dollars to “rebuild black infrastructure” like banks and businesses. He also supports “direct redress payments or tax credits” as opposed to blanket cash giveaways.
“Communities that were specifically targeted for destruction need to be specifically targeted for repair,” Kennedy states on his campaign website. “During Jim Crow, Black banks, businesses, hospitals, schools, and farms were targeted for destruction. Racists knew that without these, the Black community had no chance of building wealth. We must set federal dollars aside to rebuild Black infrastructure.”
“These programs complement direct redress payments or tax credits to the descendants of the victims of Jim Crow and other victims of persecution,” the statement continues. “RFK Jr. will find ways to offer this redress that are legal, fair, and win the approval of Americans of all races.”
In a July interview with YouTuber Math Hoffa, Kennedy stated that the proposed measures would be unlikely to further polarize black and white communities due to their universal benefit. Kennedy noted that “everybody wants business to work and to flourish,” regardless of political affiliation.