Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the United States’ first black billionaire, has recently claimed that America can only move forward and get past its slaveholding history by paying massive reparations to the black community.
Johnson proclaimed that these reparations should total $14T, insisting that paying out these reparations is the only way to close the wealth gap between blacks and whites, as well as to heal the conflict between both races.
In addition, Johnson notes that the idea of “reparations” has emerged across the United States in other policy ideas. These ideas include corporate set-asides, debt relief for black farmers, and a variety of other programs that focus specifically on making amends to the black community for past grievances.
Johnson claimed “that’s what’s happening to the reparations,” noting that “it’s been cut up into small pieces of things,” arguing that these efforts are completely insufficient. Despite the fact that the efforts are coming from people who claim they want “to end systemic racism,” along with “police brutality and shootings,” Johnson claims that the efforts ultimately stymie progress.
Specifically, Johnson said that people can then claim that they paid reparations through these policies, but Johnson is angered by these policies since it is not “asking this country to stand up and apologize,” nor is it requiring “people to pay out of their paychecks.”
Interestingly, Johnson had previously stated that another four years of Trump as president would have been favorable for America. Nonetheless, he continues to blast current reparations efforts as “placebo paternalism” and not the level of commitment he was looking for.
Johnson is not at all satisfied by piecemeal programs, which apparently do not address the dual components of reparations. Instead, Johnson argued that the national government must issue a grand apology, as well as give direct cash to black communities in order to make reparations come across as legitimate.
These reparations would purportedly constitute “reimbursement, or recompense if you will, for the harm,” according to Johnson.
In addition, Johnson claimed that the cash payments should not be restricted by income levels in any way. Thus, super-rich black individuals, including LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey, should receive cash reparations. Johnson justifies this assertion by claiming they would use their wealth in ways that are much more beneficial to black Americans.
Johnson also sharply rebuked individuals who state that wealthy blacks or successful minority-owned businesses should not receive reparations, arguing that no inquires are ever made as to whether or not a white-owned business has become “too rich to benefit from investing in a football stadium” or engaging in other activities to receive government benefits.
Johnson continued on to explain why he is interested in seeing the budget take into account the $14T reparations plan he is proposing.
Insisting that his plan would call for the entire nation to admit to two centuries of “systemic racism,” which has apparently denied black Americans $13-15T of wealth, Johnson argues that the nation “must atone” by providing direct cash payouts to “Black people of all stripes,” ranging from the poor to the extremely wealthy.
Moreover, the pain of causing damage to the economy in order to implement his $14T plan will constitute part of the contrition of the nation, according to Johnson.