Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), has called for the U.S. government to provide $14 trillion of reparations for slavery.
“Wealth transfer is what’s needed,” he said. “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.”
The billionaire also released a statement last month, questioning how the U.S. can provide justice on behalf of George Floyd and his family.
“The sad fact of the matter is on the issue of racial unity, this country has never been united,” he wrote. “In my opinion, the only way to unify this nation and achieve racial equality and harmony is for this country to implement full and total economic reparations in the form of direct cash payments, over the next 10 to 20 years, to every descendent of African American slaves.”
While Johnson has been a major Democratic donor in the past, he appeared to lean toward then-president Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2020 elections.
“I would rather know who I’m going to deal with in the White House. I’m going to know what regulatory decisions they’re going to make. What fiscal policy decisions, what monetary policies they’re going to make than to be taking a chance, particularly when you have the turbulence of a pandemic,” Johnson told the news outlet.
“I think it’s a very unusual thing,” Trump told The Hill in 2019. “It’s been a very interesting debate. I don’t see it happening, no.”
Now Johnson is pushing for Biden’s administration to make it a reality.
“Damages is a normal factor in a capitalist society for when you have been deprived for certain rights,” he said. “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 also be more black-owned businesses, he added.