Dr. Phil Faces Backlash for Saying $350K Reparations Would Be ‘Absolute Disaster’

Dr. Phil McGraw hosted a conversation on reparations to Black Americans on the April 18, 2023 episode of The Dr. Phil Show. (Credit: Dr. Phil)

Dr. Phil McGraw hosted a discussion this week about slavery reparations on the Dr. Phil show, and called a proposal by one of his guests an “absolute disaster.”

The episode included input from a Duke University professor; a woman who’s a descendant of both a slave and slave owner; a political writer; a former Los Angeles mayoral candidate; an anti-racism educator, and a Civil Rights activist who opposes reparations.

Duke professor, Dr. William A. Darity, is co-author of the 2020 book From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.

Darity told Dr. Phil the U.S. government should commit $14 trillion toward reparations for the 40 million Black American descendants of slaves. The professor noted that the tally equals about $350,000 per person, to eliminate the racial wealth gap between Black and White households, which he said is about $840,000.

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Dr. Phil cut Darity off and told him, “My name is on the wall here.”

The TV host then said sending $350,000 to people is a horrible idea, because most would waste the money and end up broke.

“I can tell you from a psychological perspective, 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 told the audience. “Whatever reparations are done, that would be an absolute disaster, as opposed to guidance and help in creating generational wealth, as opposed to income.”

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Darity acknowledged there would be some “mismanagement of funds,” but he said the U.S. government gave “White citizens” land grants under the Homestead Act of 1862 after the Civil War. He also mentioned stimulus payments sent out during the Great Recession and pandemic relief funds given to families during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr. Phil responded, “Look at the fraud that just occurred with all of the money that was given in support of COVID!”

After the April 18 episode aired, Dr. Phil trended on Twitter and was blasted by political and social commentator, Dr. Rashad Richey, on his Young Turks show Indisputable with Dr. Rashad Richey.

“Don’t you dare allow this con artist to persuade you away from the real conversation,” Richey said about Dr. Phil. “He masquerades like he is some sort of redeemer by exploiting the problems of everyday human beings and typically not providing the wholistic support required to create a generational remedy for the dysfunction.”

Richey, said Dr. Phil owes his TV career to a Black woman, Oprah Winfrey, who introduced him to national audiences on her daily talk show. Richey continued by criticizing Dr. Phil for cutting off Darity.

“You need to be careful here. Facilitating the conversation is one thing, trying to take it over is something else,” he said. “Professor Darity had some good points and he was making a calculation based on the question given to him.”

Richey also said about Dr. Phil, some people on social media are “dragging him to hell” for saying reparations would be an “absolute disaster.”