In an exclusive interview with The Root, U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) said that he supports a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and that white people need to “look themselves in the mirror” when confronting the impact that racism has on American society.

“I think a lot of people in white America think, ‘Oh, black America wants handouts.’ No, that’s not what I’m hearing. They want opportunities,” Moulton said. “They want the same opportunities a white kid like myself had growing up in a middle-class town in Massachusetts. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for every American citizen, no matter the color of your skin.”

Moulton said that community policing has failed, saying that police officers here wear more body armor than he did when he was a marine in Iraq. Another part of the problem with policing in America, he says, is that too many Americans do not feel that officers are truly trained to protect them, adding that he knows he doesn’t have to teach his daughter how to make police officers feel comfortable during traffic stops in ways black parents do.

Moulton talked about a wide range of issues, including his plans for affordable healthcare, reflections on Trayvon Martin’s killing, if he regrets challenging Nancy Pelosi’s leadership role, the racist attacks against Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, plans on how to stop voter suppression and state-level legislation that’s attacking abortion rights, and how black people will benefit from the New Green Deal.

When asked if he supports NFL players kneeing during the National Anthem, Moulton said he does because “they’re standing up for the same rights that I fought for in Iraq and I know that’s the heart of the issue.”

He added: “they’re talking about upholding American values. They’re talking about patriotism. This is what patriotism is about. It’s about fighting for the values that make us American. And whether you’re doing it overseas, whether you’re doing it on a football field, whether you’re doing it at protests across this country, you’re making America stronger.”