Federal policy would not be colorblind under a Pete Buttigieg administration, said the South Bend, Indiana, mayor.
The candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination discussed his “Douglass Plan” to benefit blacks with MSNBC on Thursday.
It includes money for housing, training, schooling and health benefits.
“It is aimed at black voters,” Buttigeig, the only openly homosexual candidate for the nomination, told MSNBC. “It’s also aimed at the country as a whole. I want black voters to see how I talk about these issues with white audiences, because this conversation needs to be national.
“But the question I get over and over again from black voters as we travel the country is, do you understand the need for there to be intentional policy that makes a difference in the black experience or do you really believe that policy can be colorblind? And I just don’t,” he said.
“You know, one of the things that’s become very clear in our time is that if you have racist policies or racist systems, and you go out and you try to replace them with neutral policies, that’s actually not enough, because the harms that have been created by this inequality are intentional and they have compounded. And so it’s going to take intentional work to address them.”
See the interview:
Buttigieg explained he wants the federal government to make “an unprecedented investment in the economic freedom and self-determination of black Americans.”
He didn’t provide a dollar figure for his proposal to fund health care programs; schools; colleges; student loans; teachers; tuition; black history celebrations; the National Endowment for the Arts; preserving black history sites; support for black prisoners; Pell Grants for inmates; prisoners’ Medicaid; convicts’ education; health care; jobs and housing; limiting police actions;black entrepreneurs; homes for “eligible” people; and other benefits.
“We have lived in the shadow of systemic racism for too long,” he claimed. “We’ve seen a rise in white nationalism, an economic gap between black and white workers that grows instead of shrinks, and worse health outcomes for black Americans, particularly new mothers, that should make us all wonder how the richest country on earth can allow this to happen under our noses. The Douglass Plan will help heal our deep racial divides with bold policies that match the scale of the crises we face today.”
Primary components include a National Health Equity Strategy to pay for Health Equity Zones that would train health care workers to combat bias. He also wants a “massive increase” in federal money for students and some schools, giving 25 percent of all government contracts to minority business owners, reducing inmate populations by half and passing a Community Homestead Act to foster asset ownership.
The homestead law would enable a public trust “to purchase vacant and blighted properties and provide them to eligible residents in pilot cities while simultaneously investing in the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Among Buttigieg’s other plans:
- A strong public campaign financing system so “average citizens can run for office.”
- District of Columbia statehood.
- Kill the Electoral College.
- Block voting rules before they are implemented.
- Make voting “accessible to all.”
- Fight lead-based paints.
- Create a public trust to buy properties and give them to “eligible” residents.
- Make tax credits available to employers who hire ex-cons.
- And educate students better about black history and slavery
Buttigieg said his plan “dismantles old systems and structures that inhibit prosperity and builds new ones.”
“America cannot simply replace centuries of racism with non-racist policy; it must intentionally mitigate the gaps that those centuries of policy created,” he said.
He also proposes reparations for blacks but hasn’t specified who would pay and who would receive the benefits.