It's Our Reparations And We Need Them Now: America's First Black Billionaire Says
BET founder, and the first African American billionaire, Robert L. Johnson is calling on the federal government to pay out $14 trillion in reparations to Black Americans according to his Vice News Interview.
Many have argued for African Americans to be compensated for the numerous past abominable and inhumane act committed against them during and post slavery. From the forceful and deadly transportation of our ancestors from the African continent, to their enslavement on American shores, the atrocities committed against African Americans cannot truly be quantitatively repaid. This fact is especially true when you take into account the ramifications of these events have trickled down to effecting the African American community even to this day.
"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 told the outlet. "And therefore 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."
Johnson's reparation plan would entail the approximately 41.9 million African-Americans in the US receiving $333,400 per person, based on 2019 data from the US Census Bureau. Johnson isn't just talking the talk but also walking the walk. He is backing up his words with actions by putting a $30 billion tax incentive program in place, Better Opportunity and Outcomes for Socially Disadvantaged Talent (BOOST) Act.
According to the research group, Brookings Institute, average white family holds about 10 times more wealth than black families in the U.S. "In 1861, the value placed on cotton produced by enslaved Blacks was $250 million," Brookings researchers said.
The government however, should not stop simply at monetary compensations when it comes to reparations but also facilitating the creation of programs that assist in bridging the equity gap between the African American community and all other communities within the U.S. It means taking a look at the current unfair distribution of wealth, fixing the corrupt justice system, and allocating resources to communities in dire need.
What are your thoughts on the African American community finally receiving reparations? And what would look like just dues to you? We'd love to hear your thoughts so comment down below!
Written by Precious Onukwuli
Brookings Institute: Big Ideas