Ben Carson: Slaves Were Immigrants Too?

By Gabrielle Seunagal
HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently attracted media censure after making a controversial remark during his first address to employees. To quote Mr. Carson directly: “That’s what America is about. 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.” Although Mr. Carson’s rhetoric was meant to uplifting and inspirational, not everyone perceived it in that manner. Critics slammed his commentary as rude, offensive, and inaccurate.
The Anne Frank Center blasted Mr. Carson via Twitter labeling his remarks as “tragic, shocking, and unacceptable.” They went on to rant that Carson’s status as an African American did not “give him a pass” and falsely branded the President as antisemitic. I am not surprised that liberals took his statements out of context, but I will give my take on what Mr. Carson said.
The aim of his speech was to inspire the American people. He spoke of opportunity, freedom, and dreams. The reference to slaves as immigrants was in no way meant to be derogatory or hurtful. His intention was to convey the message that anyone can achieve greatness in America if they are willing to work hard for it. However, it is no surprise that Democrats would twist his words. Liberals are infamous for their hatred of black conservatives and if they have the slightest room to attack, they will. If Ben Carson was a black liberal, the Left would have glossed over his remarks and even supported them.
 

 
Following the backlash, Mr. Carson spoke on Siruis XM radio to defend himself, and declared: “I think people need to actually look up the word immigrant. Whether you’re voluntary or involuntary, if you come from the outside to the inside, you’re an immigrant. Whether you’re legal or illegal, you come from the outside to inside, you’re an immigrant. Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants but they still had the strength to hold on.” The HUD secretary is absolutely correct. Immigrants are in fact persons who come to America from foreign land. Slaves were in fact immigrants, even though the way they came to this country was horrific and brutal.
 

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