Although skeptical if a check will come his way, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and American’s first Black billionaire, Robert L. Johnson, has a $14trn proposal that would help close the Black and white wage gap in America.
In the midst of this, Johnson also claims that the “new rendition” of reparations for Black Americans occurring across the country is a publicity scheme that comes in the form of education rather than distributing wealth and making up for the decades of injustice.
In a recent conversation with VICE News, Johnson says that reparations can occur in a myriad of ways: the housing program in Evanston, Illinois, critical race theory being taught at campuses across the country, every corporation making donations regarding the harrowing murder of George Floyd, debt relief for Black farmers and so much more.
In light of the reality, he had this to say to the outlet: “That’s what’s happening to the reparations—it’s been cut up into small pieces of things that look and feel like, ‘We want to end systemic racism, we want to end police brutality and shootings and to provide financing to Black small business owners.’”
The television mogul goes on to pinpoint what’s happening at the moment as “placebo paternalism,” which means that something is only meant to look good with hopes to make you feel good,. He also notes that it’s broken into two critical aspects—atonement and monetary.
“With no doubt whatsoever, it was supposed to come from the government representing the people of the country,” he added.
Essentially, he said that it was a “reimbursement” for the harm caused.
Additionally, Johnson further notes that the country’s efforts as a form of repayment are just an attempt to fix the systemic racist foundation that the US was built on.
However, he and many other people’s views on reparations are based on this sentiment:
“Reparations would require the entire country to … admit that the result of slavery has been 200 years of systemic racism, and for that reason, Black folks have been denied $13-15 trillion of wealth,” Johnson said.
Certainly, Johnson isn’t the first person to make a call to action. Other celebrities and citizens across the board have as well.
Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 essay titled “The Case For Reparations,” which was published by The Atlantic, delved into the case of reparations, bringing it back to Jim Crow and the housing mortgage market that Black people were cut out from in the 1930s.
Additionally, California has a unique task force (CA Assembly Bill 3121) created to research the effects of slavery on people, specifically in California, and the best ways to give reparations to people.