BET Founder Robert Johnson calls for the United States government to provide $14 trillion of reparations for slavery.
What We Know:
- Robert Johnson, 74, was America’s first black billionaire after he sold BET for $3 billion to Viacom in 2001.
- The founder of Black Entertainment Televison said he belives the $14 trillion in reparations for slavery would help reduce racial inequality and bridge the wealth gap.
- The current protests happening all over the country following the killing of George Floyd are in response to the police brutality and wealth divide.
- Johnson argued “Wealth transfer is what’s needed. Think about this. Since 200-plus-years or so of slavery, labor taken with no compensation, is a wealth transfer. Denial of access to education, which is a primary driver of accumulation of income and wealth, is a wealth transfer.”
- He calls the reparations the “affimative action plan of all time” because they would send the signal that white Americans acknowledge “damages that are owed” for the unequal playing field created by slavery and the decades since with a “wealth transfer to white Americans away form African Americans”.
- The BET founder also stated that he has been advocating for reparations for African Americans so this is not a new fight for him. The need for the reparations have been on his website since last year.
- Johnson believes the property damage is “a normal factor in a capitalist society” when people have been and currently being deprived of certain rights. “If this money goes into pockets like the coronavirus stimulus checks… that money is going to return back to the economy” in the form of consumption. There will be more black owned businesses, he added.
- According to Johnson, it is not only America’s responsibilitiy to address and help close the growing wealth gap between whites and blacks but also the responsibility of big business as well.
“Reparations, in the form of monetary recompense for damages, is not new in this country or the world. It should be completely understood in a nation built on a foundation of capitalism that, no one should be deprived of the benefits of their labor without due process of law. Therefore, the purpose of reparations, as presented here, is to acknowledge to 40 million Black Americans, the descendants of slaves, that you are owed damages for the evil that was visited on your ancestors.”