First black US billionaire, BET founder waiting for his reparations, wants apology along with his check

The end goal of the left’s divisive social justice agenda has arguably always been to secure reparations from the U.S. government — via taxpayers — for the sin of slavery. The belief being that people who have never been slaves should be compensated by people who have never owned slaves.

Count Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and the first black billionaire in America, among those seeking reparations. In addition to wanting a check with his name on it, Johnson also wants a government apology for slavery, Jim Crow, and hundreds of years of racism, according to Vice.

While no longer on the Forbes billionaire list, Johnson cited a wealth gap between blacks ad whites to advocate for a $14 trillion reparations proposal to address racial inequity.

“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 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 told Vice News.

With Democrats and the liberal media having established as fact that America is an inherently racist nation — an assessment many Americans disagree with — this is the natural progression of the conversation. One of the key problems with reparations is determining the direct descendants of slaves. Another question is will descendants of the hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers who died in the Civil War be exempt from putting into the kitty.

Not optimistic about getting his check, Johnson sees a “new kind of reparations” in the works, Vice reported. In an attempt to be less “divisive” or “controversial,” it’s coming piecemeal.

According to the article, this new approach is “critical race theory education, it’s the housing grant program in Evanston, Illinois, it’s the $5 billion of targeted support and debt relief for Black farmers, and it’s the $50 billion in corporate pledges in the wake of George Floyd’s murder dedicated to combating systemic racism and inequality.”

But Johnson sees this as a diversion from the real thing.

“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,’” he said.

“And then people can say, ‘Well, we really don’t need reparations because when you put all of these things together, it’s reparations.’ It’s just not one big bill or asking this country to stand up and apologize, and you’re not asking people to pay out of their paychecks,” Johnson continued.

As Johnson noted, Evanston, Ill., became the first city in America to make reparations available to black residents earlier this year, approving a plan for grants up to $25,000 to pay for home repairs or down payments on property. The city was joined this month by the town of Amherst, Mass., which agreed to create a fund that “will be used for making restitution to black residents for past harms against them and leading to a process of reconciliation.”

But Johnson told Vice these efforts are “placebo paternalism.”

Reparations had two components: The first was atonement, and the other was monetary,” he explained. “With no doubt whatsoever, it was supposed to come from the government representing the people of the country. It was reimbursement, or recompense if you will, for the harm.”

In April, Democrats passed HR 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, out of the House Judiciary Committee. It’s not clear when the measure, which is light on details on what reparations might look like, might see a full House vote.

President Joe Biden is reportedly pessimistic about the chances of HR 40 making it through the Senate.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., second vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Biden “didn’t disagree with what we’re doing,” according to Politico.

“He talked about his plate [being] full with trying to get the infrastructure bill passed and that he really wanted to make sure that he could get that through before he took on anything else,” she said.

The idea is that reparations is more of an investment program rather than a charity program, and Johnson believes that wealthy black Americans like himself should get their checks. He named Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James, as well.

“If you’re a successful black business, the idea is you’ve had enough,” Johnson said, adding that “no one ever asks if [a white-owned business] is too rich to benefit from investing in a football stadium.”

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Tom Tillison

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