Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who recently announced he would be running as an independent presidential candidate in 2024, appears to support providing reparations to the African-American community, presenting a potential blow to President Joe Biden’s support with black voters.
According to Kennedy’s campaign website, while the “condition of Black people” in the United States has improved in the almost 60 years since the Civil Rights Act, “in terms of income, wealth, education, infant mortality, home ownership, incarceration, health, and life expectancy, they still lag behind the rest of the population.”
Kennedy’s website explains that the independent presidential candidate believes “this is an unacceptable situation” that is directly related to the “unhealed legacy of racism” in the United States. According to Kennedy, the United States “must take direct action” to solve the “legacy of racism” for the sake of the whole country. Kennedy’s campaign website explains that he will appeal to the “conscience of Americans” in order to “repair the wounds of history.”
“Communities that were specifically targeted for destruction need to be specifically targeted for repair,” Kennedy’s policy platform states. “During Jim Crow, Black banks, businesses, hospitals, schools, and farms were targeted for destruction. Racists knew that without these, the Black community had no chance of building wealth. We must set federal dollars aside to rebuild Black infrastructure.”
Kennedy is advocating for a program called “Targeted Community Repair,” which his website claims will be available to other “devastated communities” in the United States besides black communities.
“However, because there are so many Black communities in need, this program will channel significant resources toward the rebuilding of these most devastated of communities,” his website states.
Kennedy’s support for reparations makes him the highest-profile candidate in the 2024 presidential race to support reparation policies, according to The New York Post.
The New York Post reported that Biden has yet to express a strong opinion on the issue of reparations to the black community. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre previously stated that Biden “supports a study, as we’ve said before, into reparations, but believes that, first and foremost, the task in front of us is not to root out — is to root out systemic racism where it exists right now. And that’s why it’s a — central to all of his agenda.”
Responding to criticism of his “Targeted Community Repair” program on social media, Kennedy recently tweeted a defense of his platform, arguing that he was not promoting reparations based exclusively on race. “My policy of Targeted Community Repair is not the same as race-based reparations,” he wrote. “The program will make capital and resources available to the poorest and most desperate communities in America.”
Kennedy explained that his program would include communities located in inner cities, Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and the Farm Belt.
“Yes, because Black people are disproportionately poor, this program will benefit them disproportionately,” Kennedy added. “But the criteria will be indicators like poverty, addiction rates, violence, etc. Not skin color.”