Ben Carson Calls Black Slaves Immigrants
by Stephen Lendman
On Monday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson called African slaves “immigrants” in remarks to HUD staff, saying new arrivals in America worked long hours for little pay. For hundreds of years, slaves came before them.
“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,’’ he said. “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.”
On Monday night, he defended his remarks, saying “(y)ou can be an involuntary immigrant. Slaves didn’t just give up and die. Our ancestors made something of themselves. An immigrant is a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.”
Carson needs enlightening. Forcibly removing human beings from their homelands, shipping them to America like cargo, and holding them in captivity against their will isn’t what immigration is all about.
Nor is the grimness of African genocide – from 500 years of colonization, oppression, exploitation and slavery, much of it trafficked to America.
Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched to ports, beaten, kept in cages, stripped of their humanity, and often their lives.
Around 100 million or more humans were sold like cattle. Millions perished during the Middle Passage, a horrifying experience, packing human cargo under deplorable conditions in coffin-sized spaces, at times, one atop another, in extreme discomfort, with poor ventilation, and little sanitation, enabling dysentery, smallpox, ophthalmia (causing blindness) and other diseases to became rampant.
Conditions below deck were dark, filthy, slimy, full of blood, vomit, and human excrement.
Women were beaten and raped. For some, claustrophobia caused insanity. Others were flogged or clubbed to death. Anyone thought to be diseased was dumped overboard like garbage.
Arrivals with three-fourths of cargos were considered successful voyages. The Middle Passage claimed as many as half of those trafficked, estimated at up to 50 million.
Along with the genocidal extermination of Native Americans, Howard Zinn called American slavery “the most cruel form in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white was master, black was slave.”
Blacks were helpless, “taught…to see blackness as a sign of subordination,” to be submissive to a greater power.
War on Black Americans continues, others of color harmed, conditions going from chattel to wage slavery, Jim Crow to its modern day version, freedom to mass incarceration in the world’s largest gulag.
Law Professor Michelle Alexander explained “(m)ore black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1860 before the Civil War began.”
Today’s racist drug laws largely affect poor communities of color. In America’s inner-cities, most Black youths can expect criminal injustice prosecutions one or more times during their lives.
They’re marked for life, harassed by militarized cops, vulnerable to re-arrest or death, struggling as best they can to survive, many not making it.
Carson is a wealthy neurosurgeon turned politician, appointed to serve as HUD secretary by Trump. He once called public housing a “failed socialist experiment.”
He called Obama’s fair housing law a “government-engineered” takeover” – an attempt “to legislate racial equality…often mak(ing) matters worse.”
“This is what you see in communist countries, where they have so many regulations encircling every aspect of your life that if you don’t agree with them, all they have to do is pull the noose.”
“It is really not compassionate…to take care of” people needs. He never lived in public housing. Being a highly respected pediatric neurosurgeon didn’t qualify him to run HUD.
Once calling Islam “inconsistent with the values and principles of America” revealed a serious character flaw.
Rising from inner-city Detroit poverty to Yale, the University of Michigan Medical School, and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins is no small feat.
Achieving eminence in his field after humble beginnings didn’t imbue him with compassion for others less fortunate.
His disturbing views are the mettle of the man, now running an agency with a $50 billion budget and thousands of employees.
America’s poor deserving access to decent housing aren’t in good hands with him in charge.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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