Black Entertainment Television co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Robert Johnson said Wednesday that “Black people laugh at White people” who topple statues in the name of racial justice.
During an appearance on Fox News, Mr. Johnson ripped the vandals who are defacing and tearing down statues of the Founding Fathers and Confederate generals across the country as a protest against systemic racism in the wake of the police-custody death of George Floyd.
“Look, the people who are basically tearing down statues, trying to make a statement are basically borderline anarchists, the way I look at it,” Mr. Johnson said. “They really have no agenda other than the idea we’re going to topple a statue. It’s not going to close the wealth gap. It’s not going to give a kid whose parents can’t afford college money to go to college. It’s not going to close the labor gap between what White workers are paid and what Black workers are paid. And it’s not going to take people off welfare or food stamps.”
Mr. Johnson said the protesters “have the mistaken assumption that Black people are sitting around cheering for them saying, ‘Oh, my God, look at these White people. They’re doing something so important to us. They’re taking down the statue of a Civil War general who fought for the South.’
“Black people, in my opinion, Black people laugh at White people who do this the same way we laugh at White people who say we got to take off the TV shows,” he continued. “White Americans seem to think that if they just do sort of emotionally or drastic things that Black people are going to say, ‘Oh my God, White people love us because they took down a statue of Stonewall Jackson.’ Frankly, Black people don’t give a damn. It falls into that, an attempt by White Americans to assuage guilt by doing things that make them feel good.”
Mr. Johnson earlier this month called on the federal government to provide $14 trillion of reparations for slavery to help reduce racial inequality. He said everything else, including toppling statues, canceling TV shows, firing professors and changing names, is pointless without a “wealth transfer” to Black Americans.
It’s “tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on a racial Titanic,” he told Fox News. “It absolutely means nothing.”
Mr. Johnson also ripped White celebrities who have made emotional social media videos acknowledging their privilege in recent weeks.
“You know, that to me is the silliest expression of White privilege that exists in this country,” he said.. “The notion that a celebrity could get on a Twitter feed and say, ‘Oh, my God, I am so sorry that I am White.’ I don’t find any Black people getting on Twitter and saying, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry I’m Black.’ And we got the worst hand dealt to us than any other people in this country. But we aren’t running away from being Black. We’re embracing being Black. My thing is: embrace being White and do the right thing and then you won’t have to worry about being sad because you’re White.”