“If under the Constitution we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property,” the former Obama-era housing secretary and ex-San Antonio mayor said on Sunday.
Castro was among the last of a pack of 2020 candidates to speak at the South by Southwest Festival in Texas, in what amounted to one of the biggest gatherings of the Democratic field yet.
As Democrats have addressed reparations in the early stages of the race, other candidates are discussing tax credits and other subsidies, rather than direct payments for the labor and legal oppression of slaves and their descendants. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would put resources such as “Medicare for All” and tuition-free college into distressed communities.
Castro tells CNN’s “State of the Union” he doesn’t think that’s the proper argument for reparations if “a big check needs to be written for a whole bunch of other stuff.” Castro stopped short of saying he would push for direct compensation to descendants as president, saying instead that he would appoint a commissioner or task force that would make recommendations.
Sanders was in New Hampshire, while Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was in Dallas, Kamala Harris of California was in Miami and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was in Tampa.