Ben Carson was sworn in just last week and already he has his first white house scandal. The former neurosurgeon, who now heads HUD, is backtracking after he compared slavery to legal immigration.
While many people are in an uproar and republican and democrats alike cringed at the comparison, I’m shocked anyone is surprised. The fact that Carson is out of touch with the Black race and struggle is something that we as a community, have been saying since he decided to throw his hat into the presidential race. When it was suggested that Carson was going to be nominated to head the Housing and Urban Development division of the federal government, it was seen as a death knell to many in the communities it affects.
Ben Carson has made countless statements that make it abundantly clear that he is unsympathetic to the plight of the average Black person in America. His comment yesterday, comparing slaves, crammed in the bottoms of ships, stolen from their native lands to immigrants who came to America seeking a better life.
Are they his words? Maybe, maybe not. Is anyone really surprised that these words would come from the Trump white house? A white house that released a statement on a Jewish anniversary without even acknowledging the Jews; a white house that could barely mumble the words Black History Month.
Who knows who is writing or behind the rhetoric that is coming from Trump’s chosen cabinet but it all seems to be streamlined. In case you missed the statement that as caused such an uproar, Carson said,
“There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, but they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”ADVERTISEMENT
Social media immediately exploded in outrage and Carson’s statement was the topic of news stories on every major channel. Carson has since taken to social media in an attempt to backtrack and clarify his statement.
On Facebook, Carson said,
I’m proud of the courage and perseverance of Black Americans and their incomprehensible struggle from slavery to freedom. I’m proud that our ancestors overcame the evil and repression that we know as slavery.
The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences. Slaves were ripped from their families and their homes and forced against their will after being sold into slavery by slave traders.
The Immigrants made the choice to come to America. They saw this country as a land of opportunity. In contrast, slaves were forced here against their will and lost all their opportunities. We continue to live with that legacy.
The two experiences should never be intertwined, nor forgotten, as we demand the necessary progress towards an America that’s inclusive and provides access to equal opportunity for all.ADVERTISEMENT
We should revel in the fact that although we got here through different routes, we have many things in common now that should unite us in our mission to have a land where there is liberty and justice for all.
Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of HUD
Carson’s comparison of slavery and immigration caused thousands to leave messages on his Facebook page, mainly angry at his statements.
Across social media, other celebrities from Chelsea Clinton to Samuel L. Jackson have responded. Jackson called Carson an “Uncle Tom.”
As the only Black member of Trump’s cabinet you’d like to hope he was the last bastion of support for the Black race. It’s really the opposite. He is another elitist whose money and affluence has allowed him to pretend he isn’t the same little boy who grew up in the hood.
Don’t forget this is the same man who in 2013 said Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” It is nothing new that Carson takes slavery very lightly.
In his speech, Carson even alluded to the fact that he would not be focusing much on the Black communities, which HUD usually covers through various housing and community development programs.
The new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development said he plans to place a “very big emphasis on fairness for everybody. Everything that we do, every policy. No favorites for anybody. No extras for anybody, but complete fairness for everybody.” Sounds like a diversion of funds to me. HUD has a budget of $47 million earmarked for housing assistance to low-income people enforcing fair housing laws and providing development block grants to communities.
This was just his first speech, and it was directed to government employees. Just wait until he starts addressing the American people. Putting someone who has no understanding of slavery, let alone the plight of the Black person in America, in charge of Housing and Urban Development is just another slap in our faces.
If anything, he is there so when all the screwed up stuff that happens to the urban community starts to pile up, they’ll blame the Black man who was in charge. Stupid stool pigeon.
Thinker, Avid Reader, Couch Potato. Sapphire Hill is a writer from Baltimore Maryland who loves to delve deeper into the whys of everything. Staff writer for 86 Blvd and Badd Magazine. Blogger and talent promoter for Sapphire Spotlight On Talent.