Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Robert Johnson ridiculed the notion Wednesday that black people “are sitting around cheering” every time a Confederate statue is toppled.
Johnson called those pulling down the statues “borderline anarchists” who are doing the black community no favors, in an interview with Fox News.
The first black billionaire said vandals toppling 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. (RELATED: Victor Davis Hanson: Taking Down Statues Is About ‘Humiliation And Power’)
“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.”
Johnson emphasized that there is little point in tearing down monuments when economic needs are paramount in the black community — not re-fighting the Civil War.
“Look, the people who are basically tearing down statues, trying to make a statement are basically borderline anarchists, the way I look at it. They really have no agenda other than the idea we’re going to topple a statue,” the media mogul said, noting that all of the chaos isn’t helping alleviate black poverty, won’t send a high school graduate to college or “close the labor gap between what white workers are paid and what black workers are paid.” (RELATED: Brian Kilmeade: Vandals Can ‘Defile’ Jackson Statue But ‘They Couldn’t Take Him Down’)
Activists are threatening to tear down Washington DC’s Emancipation Monument that depicts President Abraham Lincoln with a slave who has just been released from his fetters. The statue was entirely funded through the donations of freed slaves.
Protesters Friday tore down statues of President and Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant as well as American anthem composer Francis Scott Key in San Francisco.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared Monday that he considers the toppling of statues to be “a healthy expression” and a means of establishing “priorities.”
Johnson also derided celebrities who debase themselves for being white.
“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.’ 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. … Embrace being white and do the right thing.”