Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — who recently announced an independent run for president after previously campaigning as a Democrat — has spoken out in favor of delivering cash payments to black communities as a form of reparations payments.
“Nearly 60 years after the Civil Rights Act, the condition of Black people in America is better in many respects. However, in terms of income, wealth, education, infant mortality, home ownership, incarceration, health, and life expectancy, they still lag behind the rest of the population,” reads Kennedy’s campaign website. “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. believes that this unacceptable situation is the result of the unhealed legacy of racism in this country. We must take direct action to remedy it — not only for the sake of Black people, but for the wellbeing of the entire nation. He will appeal not to guilt and blame, but to the conscience of Americans of all races who want to repair the wounds of history.”
The campaign then listed a series of policy proposals to achieve these goals, including prison reform, improving inner city schools and police reform. Listed as the biggest priority among Kennedy’s “racial healing” policies is “targeted community repair,” which includes the allocation of federal funds 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. RFK Jr. will find ways to offer this redress that are legal, fair, and win the approval of Americans of all races,” Kennedy’s website states.
After news outlets began to report on his campaign promises, Kennedy claimed that his proposed policies do not amount to reparations. “My policy of Targeted Community Repair is not the same as race-based reparations. The program will make capital and resources available to the poorest and most desperate communities in America,” the presidential candidate wrote in response to a conservative influencer on X.
He went on to state that the policies will disproportionately affect black Americans because they are “disproportionately poor,” but added that funds would also be allocated to poorer communities regardless of demographics.
.@DC_Draino, my policy of Targeted Community Repair is not the same as race-based reparations. The program will make capital and resources available to the poorest and most desperate communities in America. These include inner cities, the rust belt, Appalachia, the devastated… https://t.co/iveNdxnJ8X
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) October 18, 2023
Kennedy’s support of reparations helps the recently declared independent candidate to potentially run to President Biden’s left. Biden has not commented on the prospect of cash reparations, angering far-left elements of the party. The White House has stated that Biden supports a “study” on the impact of direct reparations payments to black Americans, though the president has not indicated that he would support legislation.
Cornel West — a Bernie Sanders ally who is running to President Biden’s left — has also voiced his support for cash reparations. West’s campaign website includes plans to complete “the reparations process and findings within two years so checks can be cut and sent to eligible recipients,” and a call to “push Congress to pass filibuster-proof budget reconciliation for reparations and Land Back provisions.”