BET Founder Robert Johnson: Voting Democrat Has Given Black Americans ‘Minimal Return’
Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson told CNBC Wednesday he doesn’t have much faith in a Joe Biden presidency and he doesn’t believe Black Americans have benefitted from supporting the Democratic Party.
“I think Black Americans are getting a little bit tired of delivering huge votes for the Democrats, and seeing minimal return in terms of economic wealth and closing the wealth gap, job creation and job opportunities,” Johnson, the millionaire entertainment magnate and philanthropist, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble. “And Joe Biden was not an inspiring candidate for many Black Americans. And some of them stayed at home. Some of them voted for Trump.”
Johnson, the first Black billionaire, has his doubts that Biden and the Democratic Party will deliver on promises they made to Black Americans during this election cycle, particularly when it comes to the coronavirus’ effect on the Black economy.
Johnson could be right. According to NBC News, 80% of Black men supported Biden, down slightly from Hillary Clinton’s 82% in 2016 and significantly down from Barack Obama’s level of support among Black men in 2012 and 2008.
One of the reasons for the drop in support among Black Americans is Trump’s tax cuts have helped some Black Americans.
Racial wealth inequality was significant before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. due to systemic racism. A Brookings Institute study showed in 2016, the average net worth of a White household was nearly 10 times greater than that of the average Black household. Since the pandemic began, things have only gotten worse.
In June, Johnson told CNBC the U.S. government should provide $14 trillion of reparations for slavery to help reduce racial inequality. Johnson added the Democratic Party always says the right things about economic equality for Black Americans, but has no meaningful action they can point to.
“What I believe is that mainstream media and the White, liberal population in general, the only thing that they address the Black community on is what I call placebo paternalism. We will say nice things about you. We will talk about your suffering, we will say that there’s racism throughout the land,” he said. “But when you go to the core issues of what Black Americans really need, that’s access to capital, access to wealth, and income.”
Many Black men agree with Johnson. The rapper Ice Cube was originally criticized for meeting with Jared Kushner to discuss his Contract for Black America. However, according to the rapper, the Trump campaign was not only willing to talk to him, but took some of his ideas and implemented them into Trump’s Platinum Plan, but Biden’s campaign told him to wait until after the election.