BET founder calls for $14 trillion of reparations for slavery
Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, told CNBC on Monday that the US government should pay $ 14 trillion in slavery reparations to blacks to help reduce racial inequality in the country..
The distribution of wealth and police brutality against blacks have once again sparked a wave of protests among the US population, which are now raging in many parts of the country after the assassination. George Floyd last week during his arrest in Minneapolis.
«It’s time to play big», to prevent America from being divided into two separate and unequal societies, Johnson said on the air of the show «Squawk Box».
«Wealth transfer is something to think about. More than 200 years of slave labor, without any compensation, is a transfer of wealth. Denial of access to education, which is the main driver of income and wealth accumulation, is a transfer of wealth».
Johnson made history by becoming America’s first black billionaire after selling his company BET to Viacom in 2001. Shortly after the sale, he founded the investment company The RLJ Cos. He is currently not on the Forbes list of billionaires..
Calling reparations «an affirmative action program of all time», Johnson said this would be a signal that white Americans will recognize «damage due» for the unequal conditions created by slavery and the decades since «transfer of wealth to white Americans from African Americans», – he claimed.
«Losses are a normal factor in capitalist society when you are deprived of certain rights», – he said. If this money goes to support and stimulate the population and business, then this money will return back to the economy in the form of consumption. There will also be more black-owned businesses, he added..
Johnson said the reparations request has been posted on his website since last year.. «I’m not new to this business». He said he was not in favor of «more bureaucratic programs that do not work and are not implemented». He emphasized: «I’m talking about money. We are a wealth-based society. This is the foundation of capitalism».
Merck Chairman and CEO Ken Frazier, who later stated in «Squawk Box», that he could have been in Floyd’s place, expressed doubts about the possibility of compensation for damage. «I do not believe that we can get something like this through our political system». However, he said: «Leaders in the business community are a unifying force. They can be a source of opportunity. They can be a source of understanding».
«We, as business leaders, can step up and address many of these economic challenges for people.», – added Fraser, noting that education, especially financial literacy, is «great equalizer».