Flashback: Kamala Harris called for ‘some form of reparations’ to Black Americans

Does Joe Biden really know what he’s getting himself into by choosing Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate?

A Tuesday report from Breitbart dug up a 2019 interview in which the California Democrat was caught calling for reparations to Black Americans, which she said are necessary to “help folks heal” from “undiagnosed and untreated trauma” from America’s “dark history.” It’s a policy that just 1 in 5 Americans support, as The Hill noted in June.

“I think there has to be some form of reparations,” Harris told The Root’s Terrell Jermaine Starr in February 2019, as Breitbart reported. “We can discuss what that is, but look, we’re looking at more than 200 years of slavery. We’re looking at almost a hundred years of Jim Crow. We’re looking at legalized segregation and, in fact, segregation on so many levels that exists today, based on race.”

Harris also said she didn’t think those in charge understood how these actions have damaged Black Americans and that the effects have persisted until recently. “There has not been any kind of intervention done understanding the harm and the damage that occurred to correct course, and so we are seeing the effects of all of those years play out still today,” she remarked, according to SFGate in San Francisco.

What does she mean by that?

The Root article does point out that Harris gave other interviewers less direct statements about slavery, and suggested that a tax cut for all Americans making less than $100,000 would be considered a form of reparations.

She also talked about more resources for the Black community to help them overcome the obstacles they still face. “What kind of resources are we going to put in communities to help folks heal and be on an equal footing?” she asked Starr, according to Breitbart.

Historically, the term “reparations” has referred in this context to direct payments to descendants of slaves, but some have recently used the term more broadly, as Harris seems to be doing here.

That’s not the only radical policy idea Harris has had, however. The vice presidential hopeful also has a shaky record as a prosecutor in Florida.

More radical plans for America

Harris told The Root that she wanted to decriminalize sex work and has talked in other interviews about decriminalizing marijuana nationally. Her record on criminal justice reform might give some Democrats pause, however.

Indeed, it seemed to give her trouble in the primaries even before the current emphasis on defunding police or other types of police reform.

As HuffPost reported, Harris’ then-opponent Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) pointed out in one of the Democrat primary debates that “[Kamala] put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

Harris will have a tangled web to unweave for sure as November approaches.

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