Note to Ben Carson bashers: when Obama called slaves ‘immigrants,’ you showered him with praise
Note To Ben Carson Bashers: When Obama Called Slaves ‘Immigrants,’ You Showered Him With Praise
March 8, 2017
In an unscripted talk to employees, newly minted Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson referred to slaves as immigrants, and the outrage was fast and furious.
Two sample tweets:
OK!! Ben Carson …. I can’t! Immigrants? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAF(….)A PLEASE!!!#dickheadedtom
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) March 6, 2017
This can’t be real. Slaves were not & are not immigrants. 2017.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 6, 2017
Whoopi Goldberg, the NAACP and a multitude of others expressed their outrage in similar terms.
Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins said Carson’s remark “makes one wonder how far the Trump administration will go to revise the history of the black experience in America.”
Just read Carson’s crazy statement for yourself and you can understand the anger.
“Life in America was not always easy,” he said. “It wasn’t always easy for new immigrants. Certainly it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves. There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.”
Unbelievable! Slaves were “immigrants” who “found inspiration in all those who had come before them”?!?!
Oh, wait. That wasn’t Ben Carson.
Those remarks were made by another prominent African American — Barack Obama — who happened to be president at the time.
Surely Obama’s inept comparison raised hackles, too, right?
Well, not exactly. In fact, Obama’s remarks — which were contained in a written speech he read from a teleprompter at a naturalization ceremony on Dec. 15, 2015 — received widespread and fulsome praise.
Various news accounts described Obama’s speech as “an impassioned defense of migrants,” “heartfelt,” “a soaring tribute to American history and values,” “a full-throated defense of a liberal immigration policy,” “a plea for Americans to remember poor treatment toward immigrants in the past and to not repeat it.”
It’s not as if these folks missed Obama’s “slaves were immigrants” point. USA Today, in an article lauding the speech as “a full-throated defense of a liberal immigration policy,” noted that Obama “recounted a litany of past abuses of immigrants, silently comparing them to today’s environment: The forced immigration of African slaves, anti-Catholic discrimination exhibited in signs reading, ‘No Irish need apply,’ and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.”
But since Obama was attacking Trump in that speech, everyone loved it. (Obama, as a matter of fact, compared slaves to immigrants on multiple other occasions.)
Well, perhaps what Carson said was somehow far worse than what Obama said a year and a half ago to such high praise. Judge for yourself. Here’s Carson’s actual remarks:
Immigrants who came to America he said, had it tough. They worked “not eight hours a day, but 10, 12, 16 hours a day. There was no such thing as a minimum wage. They worked not for themselves but for their sons, daughters, their grandsons and granddaughters that they might have an opportunity in this land. … There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships who worked even longer and 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.”
In our view, calling slaves immigrants is idiotic, no matter who says it, and no matter in what context. Immigrants voluntarily came to the U.S. in search of a better life. Slaves were forced here against their will and treated as property. No doubt those brought over to the U.S. as slaves hoped that their children would have a better life. Who doesn’t? Beyond that, there is simply no comparison between the two groups, and no reason to lump them together.
But to all those now viciously attacking Carson, we’d ask: Why were you silent — or worse, signing praises — when the president of the United States said basically the same thing a year and a half ago?
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