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BET Founder Says U.S Government Should Pay $14 Trillion In Reparations For Slavery

BET founder Robert Johnson | Image: L. Cohen / WireImage for BET Network / Getty Images

The founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) Robert Johnson has called for the United States government to pay $14 trillion dollars to the black community in reparations for slavery.


Johnson on Monday, amid national protests and outrage following the death of George Floyd, told CNBC that the U.S government should make available $14 trillion in reparations to help reduce the racial inequality that stems from years of slavery.

“Now is the time to go big, short answers to long horrific questions about the stain of slavery are not going to solve the inequality problem,” Johnson said on CNBC.

“Wealth transfer is exactly what’s needed,” Johnson said. “Think about this. Since 200-plus-years or so of slavery, labour 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.”

In furtherance of his argument, Johnson also wrote in a statement on that the money would serve as “atonement” for years of slavery.

“Is $14 trillion too much to ask for the atonement of 200 plus years of brutal slavery, de facto and de jure government-sponsored social and economic discrimination and the permanent emotional trauma inflicted upon black Americans by being forced to believe in a hypocritical and unfulfilled pledge that ‘all men are created equal’?”

Johnson believes that the only way to unify the nation and achieve racial equality and harmony is for the government 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.

He says the reparations would be the largest ‘affirmative action program of all time,’ and signal that white Americans acknowledge ‘damages that are owed’ with a ‘wealth transfer to white Americans away from African Americans.’

“Damages is a normal factor in a capitalist society for when you have been deprived for certain rights,’ Johnson said. ‘If this money goes into pockets like the coronavirus stimulus checks … that money is going to return back to the economy.”

Johnson, 74 made history as America’s first black billionaire when he sold BET to Viacom in 2001. Nearly two decades later, he is no longer on the billionaire list.

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