One of President Joe Biden's nominees to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors often has said she supports slavery reparations for Black Americans.
Lisa Cook, a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State since 2005, would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed's board.
"Everybody benefited from slavery. Everybody," Cook said during a September 2020 "EconTalk" podcast. "So, I think that we absolutely need some sort of reckoning with that.
"There are many proposals on the table to study the possibility of reparations, many economic proposals being put forward, and I think they should all be taken seriously."
It was announced in mid-January that Cook would be among three people nominated to the Fed's board of governors.
Reparations would include financial compensation for Black Americans as a form of atonement for slavery and discrimination.
Last February, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said Biden supported a study on whether descendants of enslaved people in the U.S. should receive reparations.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, in January 2021 introduced a bill intended to "establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans."
Cook said last March she supported that bill.
"One thing I do support is H.R. 40 which would put in place a commission to study this. I think that's absolutely what needs to be done," Cook said at a forum hosted by the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business. "It's difficult not to comment on a particular plan because there could be many different plans to achieve the kinds of reparations that [two authors] are suggesting."
Cook also supported a tweet in early 2020 advocating for reparations that are "race-specific, because the injury was race-specific," Fox News reported
Critics of reparations say they aren't necessary because the country has made such significant progress on racial equality. Plus, fairly distributing any payments would be impossible.
"I can't imagine a more divisive, polarizing or unjust measure than one that would, by government force, require people who never owned slaves to pay reparations to those who never were slaves based not on anything they'd done but because of what race they were born," Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year.
Cook also has said she supports "bail funds," money collected for the purpose of posting bail for those in jail on pretrial detention, and advocated for people to donate to Stacey Abrams' "Fair Fight" political group.
Reuters contributed to this story.
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