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Biden Names Outspoken Reparations Advocate to Key Position

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has named outspoken reparations advocate and University of California Law School professor Mehrsa Baradaran to his transition team to help formulate Treasury Department policies.

Bloomberg reported the professor’s appointment as part of a group of “experts on systemic racism” who have been tapped for a Biden administration.

Baradaran, author of the 2017 book “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap,” argued during an interview on PBS in July that the United States must pay reparations to African-Americans to compensate for the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws.

“I think looking really hard at what reparations looks like. Every society that has taken from, when you look at the Holocaust, you look at South Africa, you look at the Japanese internment. We have done reparations. We, as Americans, have done reparations,” Baradaran said.

The professor contended the U.S. has breached its social contract with black Americans contained in the post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution.

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“Our Constitution promised equal protection under the law in the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, and those promises were violated. So what does damages look like? How do we make that right?’ Baradaran asked.

“You can call it ‘reparations.’ You can call it ‘damages.’ You can call it whatever you want to, but what you have to acknowledge is the harm,” she continued. “And then go to step two and three as, how do we actualize some remedies?”



Baradaran called out Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, for dodging questions regarding reparations during the Democratic primaries.

During a debate in December 2019, Baradaran tweeted that Biden “just dodged that reparations question like a much nimbler and younger man.”

Similarly, she hit Harris for not stating her position plainly in June 2019: “Dear Kamala, Reparations or go home.”

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In her book, Baradaran wrote that reparations could be implemented in various ways, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

“A reparations program could take many forms from simple cash payments or baby bonds to more complex schemes such as subsidized college tuition, basic income, housing vouchers, or subsidized mortgage credit,” she writes.

Robert Woodson — who participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s — contended in an interview with The Western Journal earlier this year that the push for reparations is misplaced and does not address the true challenges that many African-Americans face.

“You cannot monetize that problem,” Woodson said.

Some of the deeper issues he identified include black-on-black violence and out-of-wedlock births resulting in single-parent households.

“Is the answer to punish America or to heal black America?” he said regarding the prospect of reparations legislation.

“If the goal is to punish America, reparations are fine, but it’s not going to have any effect at all on the challenges facing a lot of black Americans,” Woodson said.

“If you have millionaire NBA and NFL players who make millions playing sports and less than five years [after] they leave the league, they are broke or filing for bankruptcy, how would reparations work?” he asked.

The Philadelphia native has spent much of his life studying and working on issues related to lifting people out of poverty and into productive, rewarding lives, which has included stints at the National Urban League and the American Enterprise Institute.

“Black America has never been defined by oppression. In fact, it is defined by its resistance to oppression and its ability to pursue excellence in the face of oppression,” he said.

Woodson noted that black Americans in the first half of the 20th century responded to prejudice by building their own infrastructure of hotels, banks and prosperous neighborhoods such as Bronzeville in Chicago, known as the “Black Wall Street.”

Should the U.S. institute a reparations program?

“So if blacks were able to achieve these great economic and social improvements in the face of segregation, how can you say that we cannot do it today?” the African-American scholar asked.

Woodson argued that the 1960s “War on Poverty” social welfare programs devastated families and led to many of the societal ills black people face now.

The 1960s saw the separation of “work from income, and welfare replaced the man in the house,” he said.

Asked what he would change to help strengthen African-African communities, Woodson said first he would “like to see the government stop helping people.”

Next, he “would like to see black America stop talking about white people for two years and turn their attention to addressing the enemy within the way we were compelled to do during segregation.”

Earlier this year, Woodson helped launch 1776 Unites, a school curriculum initiative that is in direct response to The New York Times’ 1619 Project.

The 1619 Project curriculum is being used in 3,500 classrooms in all 50 states, the Pulitzer Center, which is partnering with The Times to promote the material, recounted in its 2019 report.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Times’ lead writer on the project, said in a December 2019 radio interview that her “ultimate goal is that there’ll be a reparations bill passed.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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