WASHINGTON—The debate, in South Carolina, is in the first southern primary state. The African-American vote in South Carolina is very important. That’s why a question about reparations for slavery was interesting. For Chicagoans, the matter is familiar—it’s been before City Council. Now the matter is part of the presidential dialogue.
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said “ I'm not for reparations..But I think there are other things we can do to create some equality that doesn't exist in this country today,” he said, going on to talk about a report about in Charleston, S.C., where the debate was taking place, African-Americans pay more in mortgages.
CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and again he sidestepped a yes or no answer instead preferring to redefine reparations to make it into part of a much broader conversation about economic justice.
“I think the reparations we need right here in South Carolina is investment, for example, in our schools. I did a,” Obama said, to some applause.
“ I did a town hall meeting in Florence, South Carolina, in an area called the corridor of shame. They've got buildings that students are trying to learn in that were built right after the Civil War. And we've got teachers who are not trained to teach the subjects they're teaching and high dropout rates.
We've got to understand that there are corridors of shame all
across the country. And if we make the investments and understand
that those are our children, that's the kind of reparations that are
really going to make a difference in America right now," Obama said.
Cooper just asked for a show of hands to this question “Is anyone on the stage for reparations for slavery for African-Americans?” in order to nail the candidates down.
Using this method of questioning, the only one who said yes was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.)