JOHNSON: “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. Because, what, it’s not going to close the wealth gap. It’s not going to give a kid whose parents can’t afford a college money to go to college. It’s not going to close the labor gap between what white workers are paid what black workers are paid. And it’s not going to take people off welfare or food stamps. You know, it’s — you know, people having fun that they can go out and pull down a statue and 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 as they’re taking down statue of a Civil War general who fought for The South.’
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 — the TV shows, we got to — “The Dukes of Hazzard.”‘ I’ll bet you if you go back and look at the Nielsen ratings when ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ were — was on television, I bet you it had a huge black viewing population. You can ask— there’s one thing you can do, research it. Find out. Because blacks watched more television than whites did, always been, historically. So if a — if a show has enough ratings to stay on television as long as ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ did, I guarantee you it had more black people watch it as a percentage. ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ — black people watch ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ My folks grew up — everybody, you know, 8 o’clock, whenever it came on, black folks would tune in to ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’
So white Americans seem to think that if they just do sort of emotionally or drastic things, that black people are going to say, ‘Oh my God, white people love us because they took down a statue of Stonewall Jackson.’ Frankly, black people don’t give a damn. And so to me, it falls into that — an attempt by a white American to assuage guilt by doing things that make them feel good. But you ask those same white people, ‘Hey, guys, let’s write a $350,000 check to black people over the next 30 years — leave the statues alone, you know, just give us $350,000.’ You’ll find that— well, you know, it goes into, well, are you sure that they’re going to use the money wisely? Are you sure that’s going to stop racism? Well, racism starts with the people who have the power to impact racism. And so if you say, it’ll stop.
And so when I see all these things, and you know, rewriting, putting in front of the ‘Gone with the Wind’ a disclaimer — what the hell do you need a disclaimer with ‘Gone with the Wind,’ as if black people think that we believe that slavery was like ‘Gone with the Wind’? Who are you trying to convince? White people, you started slavery. If you want to learn about slavery and you want to feel bad about it, just go watch ‘Django.’ You know, put all your kids down in front of a TV and say, ‘OK, we’re going to watch “Django.”‘ We’re going to binge-watch ‘Django’ for the next five years. You know, that’s — that, to me, is the silliest expression of white privilege that I have — that exists in this country, the notion that a celebrity could get on a Twitter feed and say, ‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry that I am white. ‘I don’t find any black people getting on this Twitter and saying, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry I’m black.’ And we got the worst problem — hand dealt to us of any people in this country.
But we aren’t running away from being black. We are embracing being black. My thing is, embrace you being white, and do the right thing, and then you don’t have to worry about being sad because you white. And so, to me, when I — when I see all of this, changing names, toppling statues, firing professors because they said all lives matter, it — it just shows to me that white America is continually — still is continually incapable of recognizing that black people have their own ideas and thought about what’s in their best interest. They will not. I mean, if you want to decide on statues and you want to treat black people right, why don’t you do this — why don’t you get a group of black people together and say, ‘Hey, before we go knock down the statue of Ulysses Grant, or we go knock down a statue of this, what do you guys think?’
Give us the — give us the belief that you respect our opinion. You go out and do something, and destroy something, fire somebody because you think it hurts us, why don’t you ask us first if it hurts us before you go and say, ‘Oh, I gotta do something for the Negroes to make them feel better.’ Well, ask us if we want you to do that to make us feel better. Or if you ask us, what will make you feel better, and we said, fine, everybody write us a check, starting tomorrow, $11,000, every year for the next 30 years. That makes us feel better. You OK with that? That’s what’s missing in this whole thing. To me, what white people are doing, with the idea that they’re making us feel good, is tantamount to arranging — rearranging the deck chairs on a racial ‘Titanic.’ It absolutely means nothing.”