Marianne Williamson explains the need for slavery reparations: 'A debt that is owed'

Marianne Williamson delivered a striking answer during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate when asked about her plan for the federal government to pay the descendants of African-American slaves $500 billion in reparations.

“First of all, It’s not $500 billion in financial assistance,” Williamson, an author and activist, said. “It's $500 billion, $200 to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is. We need some deep truth telling.”

Williamson chided her rivals for the nomination, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, for approaching the issue too cautiously by recommending a commission to study it.

“We don’t need another commission to look at evidence. 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 is some deep truth telling. We need to recognize that 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 to do with the fact that 250 years of slavery was followed by another 100 years of domestic terrorism.”

Marianne Williamson
Author and Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

In his initial question, co-moderator Don Lemon asked what made Williamson qualified to determine the amount the U.S. should pay for reparations.

“What makes me qualified to say $200 to $500 billion? I’ll tell you what makes me qualified. If you did the math, of the 40 acres and a mule, given that there was 4 to 5 million slaves at the end of the Civil War. ... They were all promised 40 acres and a mule for every family of four. If you did the math today, that would be trillions of dollars, and I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult.”

On the eve of a June hearing in the House of Representatives on proposals to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on the idea.

“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living is responsible for, is a good idea,” McConnell said.


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