Bernie Sanders: 'We Have a Racist Society From Top to Bottom'; Warren: 'We Need...Race-Conscious Laws'

By Susan Jones | February 10, 2020 | 11:50am EST
Democrat Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. (File photo by Justin Sullivan/AFP via Getty Images)
Democrat Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. (File photo by Justin Sullivan/AFP via Getty Images)

( - The topic of racism in the United States drew different responses from the Democrat president hopefuls at their debate Friday night.

For example, Tom Steyer advocated reparations; Andrew Yang wants to give all Americans $1,000 a month, something that would boost blacks' net worth, he said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders called for an end to cash bail and an end to the war on drugs, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for "race-conscious laws."

"You have to own up to the fact, and it’s important to own up to the facts about how race has totally permeated our criminal justice system," Warren said.

For the exact same crimes, study after study now shows that African Americans are more likely than whites to be detained, to be arrested, to be taken to trial, to be wrongfully convicted, and receive harsher sentences. We need to rework our criminal justice system, from the very front end on what we make illegal all the way through the system, and how we help people come back into the community.

But we cannot just say that criminal justice is the only time we want to talk about race specifically. We need to start having race-conscious laws. Housing, for example, I have a great housing plan to build more housing in America, but understand it was the policy of the United States of America to discriminate against African Americans and any other people of color for buying homes until 1965.

 You can’t just repeal that and say “Okay, now everything is even.” It’s not. We need race-conscious laws in education and employment, in entrepreneurship, to make this country a country of opportunity for everyone, no matter the color of their skin.

Sanders said, "Much of what Elizabeth said is absolutely correct."

We have a racist society from top to bottom, impacting healthcare, housing, criminal justice, education, you name it. And clearly this is an issue that must be dealt with.

But in terms of criminal justice, what we have got to do is understand the system is broken, is racist. We invested our young people in jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration. We end the war on drugs, which has disproportionately impacted African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. We end private prisons and detention centers in America.

Sanders also noted that some 200,000 people are in jail right now, without having been convicted of anything, "because they can’t afford the $500 for bail they need to get out of jail. That is outrageous, we’re going to end cash bail in America."



MRC Store