Former President Barack Obama publicly backed reparations for Black Americans for the first time during a recent discussion with rock star Bruce Springsteen on their new podcast.
During the second episode of the pair’s new show, “Renegades: Born in the USA,” Obama revealed he does support giving money to black citizens as some type of apology for slavery.
“If you ask me theoretically ‘are reparations justified?’ the answer is yes,” Obama told Springsteen. “There’s not much question that the wealth of this country, 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.”
“They built the house I stayed in for a while,” Obama added, referring to the White House.
Listen to the full episode below:
Next, Barack explained how Jim Crow laws held Black Americans back from building up wealth, which he says has had generational effects.
“Could you get a country to agree and own that history? And, my judgement was that as a practical matter, that was unobtainable. We can’t even get this country to provide decent schooling for inner-city kids,” he said without a hint of irony.
Obama’s hometown of Chicago is known to have some of the country’s worst inner-city schools.
Next, the 44th President blamed, “The politics of white resistance and resentment,” for stopping him from implementing reparations during his tenure as POTUS.
“The talk of welfare queens and the undeserving poor and the backlash against affirmative action… all that made the prospect of actually proposing some kind of inherent, meaningful reparations program struck me as politically, not only a non-starter, but potentially counterproductive,” he stated.
Barack did note that it’s “perfectly understandable why working-class white folks, middle-class white folks, folks who are having trouble paying the bills or dealing student loans or don’t have healthcare, where they feel like government has let them down, wouldn’t be thrilled with a massive program that is designed to deal with the past, but isn’t speaking to their future.”
Springsteen asked, “So, you’re saying we live in a country where we can do that for bankers on Wall Street, but we can’t do it for a part of the population that’s been struggling for so long?”
Obama dodged the question, saying, “Well, I promise you White folks don’t like that either,” and changing the subject back to reparations.
Perhaps he quickly diverted from the subject of Wall Street bankers getting bailed out by the federal government because in 2008 his administration bailed out the big banks.
By 2011, Obama’s cozy relationship with America’s biggest bankers sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Don’t expect Barack’s pal Bruce Springsteen to hold his feet to the fire during these casual convesrations.
This podcast was ironically held at Springsteen’s million-dollar home studio in his New Jersey ranch.
So far, only two episodes of the eight-part series have been released on Spotify, with the six remaining to arrive over the next few weeks.