Robert L. Johnson, owner of Black Entertainment Television (“BET”), called for the U.S. government to pay a total of $14 trillion in reparations to African Americans for slavery, which was abolished more than 150 years ago.
In an interview with Vice, Johnson said that two hundred years of systemic racism equals $13-15 billion in reparations to blacks. The billionaire, whose net worth is more than half a billion dollars, claims that the U.S. is a country that is systematically racist against blacks.
“We as a country now must atone by paying Black people of all stripes — the rich ones, the poor ones, and the middle — out of our pocket”, he said.
The institution responsible for the country’s census, the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that the African-American community is comprised of approximately forty-four million people. By doing a brief calculation, it is estimated that this sum proposed by Johnson would break down to $320,000 for each African American.
His proposal goes beyond a simple statement. The billionaire, who belongs to the exclusive group of the richest people in the country, revealed that he is working on the presentation of a tax incentive program whose goal is to raise $30 billion.
The tax proposal that would help reparations goes under the name “Better Opportunities and Outcomes for Socially Disadvantaged Talent (BOOST) Act”
Last year, during the height of the Black Lives Matter riots, Johnson made these same statements in favor of reparations. “A redistribution of wealth is what’s needed,” he told CNBC.
“[Reparations for] damages is a normal factor in a capitalist society when you have been deprived of certain rights,” he wanted to argue. “Over 200 years of slavery, of work done without compensation, that is a transfer of wealth. The denial of access to education, which is the main driver of income and wealth accumulation, is a transfer of wealth,” Johnson said.
He further clarified that this was not about creating more inefficient bureaucracy. “I’m talking about cash. We are a wealth-based society. That’s the basis of capitalism,” he said.