BET founder Robert Johnson slams protesters for toppling statues
BET founder Robert Johnson slammed those who topple Confederate and other statues across the US as “borderline anarchists” — and argued the act means “absolutely means nothing” to black Americans.
Johnson, who recently called for the government to provide $14 trillion in reparations to the descendants of slavery, told FOX News Wednesday that the movement to take down statues, cancel TV shows and fire professors is meaningless to help the black community.
People tearing down statues “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,” Johnson said.
“You know, 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 said.
“[It’s] tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on a racial Titanic,” added Johnson, who became the country’s first black billionaire in 2001. “It absolutely means nothing.”
Black Americans, Johnson argued, would benefit more from structural changes like economic equality.
“Look, the people who are basically tearing down statues, trying to make a statement are basically borderline anarchists, the way I look at it,” Johnson told FOX. “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.”
He also rejected the idea of canceling TV shows like “The Dukes of Hazzard” because of the Confederate flags that appear in it, and the move to put a prologue at the start of the film “Gone With The Wind,” warning of racist content.
Johnson also lashed into white celebrities who use their social media platforms to apologize for their race.
“You know, that to me is the silliest expression of white privilege that exists in this country. The notion that a celebrity could get on a Twitter feed and say, ‘oh, my God, I am so sorry that I am white,’” he said. “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 problems. … My thing is: embrace being white and do the right thing.”
Johnson urged white Americans to sit down with black Americans and ask what they really want.
“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,’”he said. “Frankly, black people don’t give a damn.”