A 2021 survey reveals there are wide divides on the topic of reparations for slavery to the Black community. Noted Pan-Afrikanist Dr. Umar Johnson is one of the loudest voices, and he cautions if reparations come before the community has its own institutions the initiative would be in vain.
During an interview on the “FLY SH#!T ONLY” podcast, released in October, Johnson was asked if reparations would help the condition of Black people.
“If somebody is mentally ill, in a mental asylum or mental hospital, and you give him $1 million. Does it reverse the illness?” he asked rhetorically. “Does it do anything to treat his problem?”
The hosts on the show both say, “No.”
“Now, let’s take that to a community,” Johnson continued.
Johnson asked, “If a community has no institutions … no way to trap the money in their community … they own none of the institutions … and you drop a couple trillion dollars in that community … how is that money going to benefit the people when all the institutions in the community that are going to take their money are not owned by people who look like them?”
“If we don’t responsibly spend the money we already have,” he urged the hosts to consider, “how can we spend more? What makes you think giving you more is gonna change your situation?”
Johnson, the founder and lead tour guide for the “Unapologetically Afrikan” Black College & Consciousness Tour, said he wants people to know he supports reparations, but with a caveat.
The clinical psychologist said the community has to learn better spending and self-investment patterns, saying he does not support “reparations externally” before the community starts to repair itself.
“Most of the saving that has to be done for Black people must be done by Black people,” he said, before adding, “and no amount of money is going to fix that.”
Johnson, who claims to be a descendant of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Bishop Alexander Wayman, continued: “No amount of money is gonna stop the Black woman from not trusting the Black man. No amount of money is going to make the Black man love his woman. No amount of money is going to stop Black women from frying their hair. No amount of money is going to stop Black men from dating outside the race. When you look at our deepest-rooted problems no money can fix them.”
You have to start at the root, Johnson believes, and once that is dug up the community can “replant” a healthier tree and ask the government for the “reparation” they owe.
People took to social media to blast Johnson for his comments.
One Twitter user who aligns himself with the Foundational Black Americans movement, helped kick off the discussion with a tweet that garnered nearly one thousand likes.
“Umar Johnson need Black Americans to be perfect for reparations. I swear when it comes to us, we have to hear someone throwing road blocks for what we are owed. It’s ridiculous! Our ancestors died making this country wealthy. Umar where’s your family from?,” he tweeted.