Words by: Tahyira Savanna
Last night was the first night of the second Democratic presidential debate where 10 candidates faced questions from CNN hosts, Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper, who moderated the debate in Detroit, Michigan.
One of the candidates, Marianne Williamson, who is an author and self-help guru got huge applause from the audience with her passionate response to the question regarding how the U.S. can proceed with reparation payments to African-Americans for what was owed to them from Slavey.
“Well, first of all, it’s not $500 billion in financial assistance, it’s $200 to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations are. We need deep truth-telling when it comes, we don’t need another commission to look at the evidence,” Williamson said. “I appreciate what Congressman O’Rourke has said. It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal. All that a country is, is a collection of people. People heal when there’s some deep truth-telling. We need to recognize, when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with. That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there were 250 years of slavery followed by another hundred years of domestic terrorism.”
The government has routinely shut down the notion of even discussing reparations which would dramatically change the economic gap between Blacks and Whites in the country. The counter-argument is that is would be highly divisive as there are no living slaves currently in the U.S. Most Whites do not support it and feel that Afro-Americans have had a long time as “freedmen” and should not get special financial treatment.
When Williamson was asked where she got her numbers from she responded, “If you did the math of 40 acres and a mule, given there were four to five million slaves at the end of the Civil War, and there were probably 40 acres and a mule for every family of four, if you did the math today, it would be trillions of dollars. And I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult, and $200 to $500 billion is politically feasible today because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.”
Another debater, Congressman O’Rouke, answered before her, stating that he supports a reparations bill and would make it one of his top priorities if elected President. He stated, “I will also sign into law Shelia Jackson Lee’s reparations bill,” referencing a Texas representative from Houston. This is the first time that the question of reparation has been a topic in a Presidential debate. All we have to say is, it’s about damn time. Tune in tomorrow to watch the other 10 candidates for debate night part two.