Gary Johnson on Race and Poverty: ‘My Head’s Been in the Sand’

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson answers a question about "Black Lives Matter" during a televised town hall discussion sponsored by CNN August 3, 2016.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has been making a heavy play for left-leaning voters in his second run for the White House. On Wednesday, he turned that effort up a notch when asked about racial issues, a subject that has long been a difficult one for libertarians given their tendency to support almost no role for the federal government in ending private racial discrimination.

Asked by a questioner during a televised town hall discussion about his thoughts concerning the “Black Lives Matter movement,” the former New Mexico governor said that he realized he had been wrong about race in the past.

“My head’s been in the sand on this,” he said. “That’s what it’s done for me.”

“We’ve all had our heads in the sand,” Johnson added. “Let’s wake up. This discrimination does exist, and it has existed. For me personally, slap, slap, wake up.”

Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, agreed, saying that he believed there was a big role for the federal government to play in helping improve the lives of young black men.

“I think we have a national emergency in the number of male black youths who are unemployed without prospects,” he said. Americans should “concentrate the power of the government to make sure there are jobs available for them.”

The televised group discussion was sponsored by CNN.

Watch the relevant portion of the event below:

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