Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson followed up tonight on his earlier remarks in which he referred to slaves as immigrants.
Carson issued the following statement on Facebook:
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.
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.
However, Carson also spoke out on The Armstrong Williams Show today, saying that people in the room understood what he was saying. He questioned why the press reports didn’t bring up anything else that he said and lamented that “it’s really kind of sad what the media had deteriorated into.”
He made it clear that of course slavery was horrible, but it’s important to acknowledge how “strong-willed” and hopeful many of those people brought over as slaves were––”they didn’t just give up and die.”
At another point in the interview he said people should be proud “to have ancestors that had the mental strength to endure what so many others had not been able to endure,” adding, “Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants, but they still had the strength to hold on.”
You can listen to the audio clips above, via SiriusXM’s The Armstrong Williams Show.
[image via screengrab]
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