Forget BET being the devil and the scourge of Black America’s existence for a minute. Yes I know it’s hard to separate the embarrassment of a network that is BET from Bob Johnson. And yes, I know it’s also hard to forget or overlook the fact that Bob Johnson was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2009’s Democratic Primaries. However, jthough I know it’s easy to label him as a “hater” who doesn’t give a damn about Black folks, he makes a good point in the following interview with CBS’ Scott Polly:
Scott Pelley, CBS “Evening News” anchor: How do you create jobs in this country?
Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET): Unfortunately now, I don’t think we have the leadership either in the White House or the Congress to end what I call a zero-sum game mentality towards the U.S. economy. And until both parties agree that the goal is to rebuild the American economy to reflect the 21st century on a global environment – we’re going to be stuck. And it’s a little bit frightening from the standpoint of a business person and particularly an African-American business person.
Pelley: What do you mean frightening?
Johnson: The facts are African-American unemployment is 16.7 percent, almost double the national average and probably higher than that when you factor in those people who’ve given up or those people who can’t find real jobs. And studies continue to show that African-Americans are falling behind by every indices that you can imagine – home ownership, economic opportunity, access to capital. And that to me, creates a prescription that could lead to two societies, separate and unequal, but also to a lot of social unrest.
Pelley: Your message to Washington then is what?
Johnson: My message to Washington is simply sacrifice your political job for the job that American people want you to do. That’s as simple as that. Be willing to be a one-term congressperson. Be willing to be a one-term president, be willing to be a one-term senator. Take that position. That the issues before the country are far greater than me returning to Washington and starting the same old treadmill over again.
Watch it here for yourself and tell me what you think: