With riots happening all over the US, people are asking what needs to be done. Today on CNBC’ “Squawk Box” Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Channel, BET, said “The U.S. government should provide $14 trillion in reparations for slavery to reduce racial inequality.” The wealth gap and police brutality against blacks have been the subject of protests that have erupted across the country in the wake of police shootings of unarmed black men and women. Johnson said now is the time to make America great and prevent it from splitting into two separate, unequal societies.
In 200 years of slavery, the work was done without compensation that constituted a transfer of wealth, and access to education was a major driver of income and wealth formation.
Johnson, 74, made history last year when he sold BET to Viacom, but is no longer on the Forbes billionaires list.
Johnson said the reparations would send a message that white Americans recognize the damage they have done to the unequal conditions created by slavery in the decades that followed. He said damage is a common factor when individual rights are denied, and he called at the time for redress through affirmative action programs.
Johnson said the need for reparations has been on his website since last year, and he added that there would be more black businesses. He said the money would go back into the economy rather than into the pockets of coronavirus and stimulus programs.
I’m talking about cash, “he said, but the challenge is not new, and he did not advocate more bureaucratic programs that have not been implemented or have not worked.
It is the foundation of capitalism, and it is a society based on prosperity, not only in the United States but throughout the world, from Africa to the Middle East.
Later, Merck chief executive Ken Frazier expressed doubts that reparations were possible, but he said business leaders needed to be a unifying force. I don’t think the political system will get it, “he said, according to the New York Times.
American history and can be a source of opportunity for all, “according to a news release from Johnson’s office, according to the New York Times.
As business leaders, we can rise and be a source of understanding and resolution of many economic problems for our people, “Frazier added, saying that education, especially financial literacy, is the greatest equalizer.