On the latest episode of The Ringer’s Higher Learning—which you should absolutely subscribe to since I would never steer you wrong—co-hosts Van Lathan and The Bachelorette alumna Rachel Lindsay ponder a question that’s been tormenting even the deepest recesses of the Internet since Tuesday.
“The fates come to you, they say, ‘Hey, look. You got two choices,’” Lathan begins. “‘We’re gonna give you $100 billion dollars to go live your life and do whatever you want with it, or we can end racism forever.’ Would you take $100 billion or the end of racism forever?”
Lindsey, who was an attorney in a past life and is a bit too hip to the bullshit to just take the bait, proceeds to seek out clarification.
“If I end racism, what does that entail?” she asks. “Does it end racism in the sense that people no longer judge you by the color of your skin? People don’t see that? Like, everybody’s on the same playing field?”
“Nah, nah, nah,” Lathan responds. “It’s not that racism never existed.”
Lindsey then asks if Black folks get reparations and Lathan explains that NOPE, y’all niggas don’t get shit.
The entire exchange is interesting, and one that transformed social media into a battlefield. Hell, I spent a good chunk of my Tuesday mulling the answer myself. Because if you end racism, racial inequality still exists in the form of our disproportionate socioeconomic status and other shortcomings—since our Black asses are still 400 years behind (and counting). So inevitably, while racism would no longer exist, discrimination would remain prevalent because we’d still be drawing from inferior resources. There’d still be haves and have nots. And since marginalized groups would continue to be pissed at this disparity, eventually we’d be right back to—wait for it—living in a racist society.
But on the flip side, if you take the money and commit to being altruistic instead of buying up every crab leg in the ocean, is $100 billion enough to dismantle systemic roadblocks and erase the racial wealth gap?
Centuries of discrimination and exploitation have left Black Americans much poorer than white Americans. The median white household has a net worth 10 times that of the median Black household. If Black households held a share of the national wealth in proportion to their share of the U.S. population, it would amount to $12.68 trillion in household wealth, rather than the actual sum of $2.54 trillion. The total racial wealth gap, therefore, is $10.14 trillion.
And that’s just Black folks!
Imagine what that number looks like once you factor in every other race that’s been on the receiving end of white people’s bullshit. Ain’t enough zeros in the galaxy for that check.
There’s also the fact that by investing $100 billion into the Black community in order to make a valiant attempt to correct course, you’d inevitably have to align yourself with the likes of Candace Owens or Van Jones under the banner of “the greater good.” Morally, are you really about that life?
This leaves the third option: just taking the money and doing you. But if Black folks find out you selfishly chose $100 billion over ending racism for everyone else, you really think the Black community is just gonna let that rock? Nah, fam. Good luck with that shit.
As you can imagine, there’s been plenty of colorful responses to this question on Twitter.
“I’m ending Racism and it’s not even a hard question,” user @ChesterEugene tweeted. “Trillions of dollars couldn’t end racism. Money is just a tool, world economy collapses tomorrow, that money means nothing. And I can always make enough money to be semi-comfortable, if not even better than that.”
“I want to be the guy that says let’s end that shit,” tweeted @RecordTeacher. “At the same time that is wealth that I can pass down for generations to help my family and donate to causes. It’s genuinely tough if I’m being real. My heart says end racism. My head says take the bag. Gotta go with my heart.”
Others got their Jerry Maguire on and simply yelled, “Show me the money!”
If you’re dying to know what Van and Rachel’s final answers were, then do yourself a favor and check out their podcast. But if you’re brave enough to answer the question yourself, I’m dying to know: Would you end racism or take the $100 billion?
Let us know in the comments.