US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Monday compared slaves who came to the country centuries ago to modern-day immigrants searching for a better life.
‘That’s what America is about,’ Carson said in remarks which were broadcast live on social media.The secretary was addressing the federal workers at his department in Washington as well as employees in HUD offices throughout the country.
‘A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, 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.’
Carson’s remarks, his first since being appointed to head HUD by President Donald Trump, outraged social media.
Carson’s remarks were colored by historical revisionism from the start, with the secretary declaring that the department would be run in a spirit of fairness under his leadership.
“No favors for anybody, no extras for anybody, but complete fairness for everybody, because that is what the founders of this nation had in mind,” Carson said of the framers, who mostly excluded those who were not white, land-owning Protestant males from their particular vision of “fair”.
“People could do whatever they wanted as long as what you wanted to do didn’t interfere with me and what I wanted to do,” Carson said of the 18th century US, ignoring the explicit unfreedom that black and Native Americans experienced.
Carson later corrected his comments in a statement on Facebook, saying “the slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences,” and should “never be intertwined.”