Duke University professor William Darity spoke on a Tuesday episode of Dr. Phil about his plan to give reparations to the Black Americans that are descendants of slaves.
Darity, who co-authored the book, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” made the case for such a program by offering some theories on how it would be accomplished.
“The first condition is that reparations should be paid to Black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved in the United States,” he said. “The second is, how much should be paid? The amount should be dictated by the disparity in wealth between Black and White Americans, which at the current moment amounts to in excess of $840,000 per household.”
He described his “objective,” is to “eliminate the racial wealth gap in the United States,” noting that this “would require an expenditure of $14 trillion, which would be distributed evenly across the 40 million Black American descendants of U.S. slavery. That would be approximately $350,000 per person.”
“Where would that money come from?,” Dr. Phil asked.
“Money would be paid by the federal government,” Darity said. “It would be paid by the federal government in the same way in which the federal government has met the expenses that were paid out for the purposes of trying to deal with the great recession and also, most recently, with the economic downturn associated with the great pandemic.”
There were some on the panel that challenged Darity’s plan.
Political writer Joshua Ferguson responded, “First of all, the U.S. government doesn’t have money. All of their money comes from taxes. To say you’re not going to take it from people today, you’re right. You’re going to take it from future generations. That’s what’s going to happen.”
Author and civil rights activist Bob Woodson also criticized the plan, “I cannot think of any group of people who have been made wealthy by just transferring money to them.”
“There has never been a point in the United States history where Black and White incomes were equivalent,” Darity shot back. “But I’m not talking about income, anyway. I’m talking about the wealth disparity.”
“There is a substantial history of the United States government providing financial assets to white citizens, when it did not provide similar assets to Black citizens. Let’s go back to the period in which there was a promise made of 40 acre land grants to Black Americans,” he added. “At the same time, when that promise was not fulfilled, the U.S. government gave one and a half million White families in the United States 160 acre land grants in the western territories, under the Homestead Act of 1860. That was a transfer that has resulted in the situation in which 45 million living white Americans are continuing to be beneficiaries of those land patents.”
Dr. Phil praised the professor for giving a “history lesson” with “indisputable” facts, but suggested his solution is impractical.
“I can tell you from a psychological perspective that if you take $350,000 or $840,000, and you write a check to any group of people— Black, White, poor, homeless, whatever— you give any group of people that much money and say, ‘There you go. Best of luck.’ You come back in six months. They’re going to be broke,” Dr. Phil said. “Whatever reparations are done, that would be an absolute disaster, as opposed to guidance and help in creating generational wealth, as opposed to income.”
Darity defended his idea by claiming, “No one ever says that there’s going to be mismanagement of funds when we’re talking about the distribution of reparations payments to other communities.”
“I just said it,” Dr. Phil said. “I just said, ‘you give that money to anybody, they’re going to mismanage it. They’re going to blow it.’ Look at the fraud that just occurred with all of the money that was given in support of COVID.”