Secretary of Housing and Urban Development head Ben Carson is doubling down on his comments on the definition of slaves and immigrants after he was met with truckloads of criticism.
During his welcome speech to HUD employees Monday (March 6), the former presidential candidate likened slaves to immigrants when speaking about freedom and opportunity in America. “That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said to the HUD staff. “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.”
Speaking to SiriusXM’s The Armstrong Williams Show, Carson expressed disappointment with the public for not highlighting the upsides of his speech, which reportedly included endless photo-ops and a standing ovation.
After a caller had questioned him on his comments, he informed her that slaves can be called “involuntary immigrants.” “We should be proud to have ancestors that had the mental strength to endure what so many others had not been able to endure,” he said. “They tried to enslave all kinds of people, but they were not able to endure it. Don’t let someone turn that into something bad. I think people need to look up the word “immigrant.” If you’re coming from outside to inside, you’re an immigrant. Whether you’re illegal or you’re legal. Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants, but they still had the strength to hold on.”
Aside from his problematic statements, Carson also suggested to the HUD staff he can make them recite books read 60 years ago by toying with their brain. “It remembers everything you’ve ever seen. Everything you’ve ever heard,” he said. “I could take the oldest person here, make a little hole right here on the side of the head and put some depth electrodes into their hippocampus and stimulate. And they would be able to recite back to you, verbatim, a book they read 60 years ago. It’s all there. It doesn’t go away. You just have to learn how to recall it.”
His theory has already been debunked, but we’re sure that won’t stop him from being strong and wrong.