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Outrage as Ben Carson calls slaves ‘immigrants’

Republican Presidential hopeful Ben Carson speaking during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2016 at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, outside Washington. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

President Donald Trump’s housing secretary provoked a firestorm Monday by saying slaves brought from Africa were “immigrants” who dreamed of success for their families in the United States.

Ben Carson, who is black, made the stunning remarks during an address to employees at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Washington.

“That’s what America is about: a land of dreams and opportunity,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who grew up poor in a Detroit ghetto.


“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” he said.

“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.”

The comments provoked an instantaneous backlash.

“Immigrants???” tweeted the NAACP, the nation’s largest civil rights organisation aimed at ending racial discrimination.

The remarks were condemned as “tragic, shocking and unacceptable” by the US office of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, a social justice group named after the Jewish girl whose diary, written before she was killed in the Holocaust, became a globally respected account of discrimination and hope.

“No, Secretary Carson. Slaves didn’t immigrate to America,” the group’s executive director Steven Goldstein wrote.

“This is as offensive a remark as it gets.”

The HUD department pushed back, saying on Twitter that the flurry of US media reports on Carson was “the most cynical interpretation” of his remarks.

“No one honestly believes he equates voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude,” the department added.

It was not the first such controversy for Carson, a former Trump rival for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and someone who routinely blasts political correctness.

He once said Joseph, the Biblical figure, built Egypt’s pyramids in order to store grain, and not as tombs for the pharaohs.

In 2013, he blasted the health care reforms of Trump’s presidential predecessor Barack Obama as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”




  • larr

    Great job redefining the African Americans. You are the wisest black man ever Dr Ben Carson. You refused to continuously lick the wound of slavery as expected of every black man by the white who are using this issue of slavery as psychological warfare against guilible blacks who do not know that slavery existed among whites. The word slavery was not coined by a black man. The whites have pushed the word slavery behind them and moved on yet they want blacks to always look backwards continuously as if the white have no self history of slavery. The whites understand the need to focus, concentrate energy and build the future, while they want blacks to be distracted, lose focus, complain about the past and live in misery. Learn from the wise man Dr Carson, he knows what he is talking about.

    • Lemmuel Odjay

      Are you denying the fact there were slaves?

    • Naijaman

      You must be an idiot student of history! Wisdom is not exactly analogous to intellect. On this one, your wiseman uncle Tom just embarrassed himself as an intellectual pap. In his uppitty struggles to indentify with the whiteman, he seems to regrettably forget where he came from. He keeps falling all over himself each time he opens his mouth. I hope he knows that Trump is having a field day laughing himself silly with his stupidity. When Colin Powel understood what the white boys were up to, unfortunately it had gotten too late for him to turn things around, he quickly dusted off that uncle Tom label and started identifying with his own people. Don’t be fooled Mr, or whatever you are, racism is still as alive as ever. Even a kindergarten who knows better will roll up his/her eyes at Dr Ben Carson’s epic ignorance.

    • Xanthos1

      Carson is either a revisionist like you or simply ignorant….. Not surprising in the era of post truth or alternative facts era

    • Jonathan Umurhohwo

      How can people forced out of their native lands against their wishes be regarded as immigrants? Dr Carson has lost sense of identification. Very unfortunate

  • Tunsj

    Uncle ‘T’ Carson has lost his mind.

    • ade

      I think so!

    • tee

      He’s suffering from Trumpmania

  • walter enang

    I have always suspected that Dr. Carson is a dead Mugun. …( dumb and greedy individual)….pronounced moogu.

  • walter enang

    INJUSTICE OF REVENUE ALLOCATION IN NIGERIA (1)
    By Ann-kio Briggs

    North Central recieves 20%
    CONTRIBUTES. 0.00%

    North East recieves. 16%
    CONTRIBUTES. 0.00%

    North West recieves. 21%
    CONTRIBUTES. 0.00%

    Every month the 19 Northern states recieves a minimum of 57% of 100% revenue to which they CONTRIBUTE 0.00%.

    South West Recieves. 16%
    CONTRIBUTES. 3.97%

    South East. Recieves. 11.00%
    CONTRIBUTES. 2.07%

    South South Recieves. 15.00%
    CONTRIBUTES. 91.64%

    NIGERIA has 774 Local Government Areas

    Northern Nigeria has 19 States, the 19 States has 419 Local Government Areas

    Southern Nigeria has been 17 states the 17 states has 357 Local Government Areas

    Working with the data from the office of the Accountant General as published by the Ministry of Finance (2013 April), the 357 Local Government Areas of the 17 southern states recieve 45.1% of what they contribute a 100%

    The 419 Local Government Areas of the 19 Northern states recieves 54.9% of what they contribute 0.00%

    No grammar will take away the fact that l am talking of equity and justice. The South of Nigeria particularly the Niger Delta has over loved the North, and they don’t appreciate it. We must now love our selves, our children and their future and region 200%.

    Some Niger Delta people may think it is politically correct to continue to give to a system and people that will never give to us, and even consider us fools for giving. I refuse to be politically correct, if it means sacrificing Niger Delta.

    How dare someone who brings nothing and takes more than me who brings 100% ask me what l am doing with the little that he did not steal.

    THE INJUSTICE OF REVENUE ALLOCATION IN NIGERIA (2)
    By Ann-kio Briggs

    I am happy that l shared the facts of revenue sharing a week or so ago. I am regretful that l did not share it earlier than this.

    I am ready to take on anyone, be they politicians or individuals on the facts. The freedom of information bill compels the FG to give Nigerians the monthly expenditure of oil and gas revenue.

    How much does FederalGovernment owe the NDDC.? How much does the Federal Government owe the Ministry of Niger Delta? How much does the Federal Government owing the Amnesty program? How much does the Federal Government owe the oil and gas producing states?

    I call on the oil and gas producing states, and the communities to educate themselves on the FACTS AND LIES ON THE CLAIMS THAT EXPLORATION OF OIL AND GAS IN THE NIGER DELTA WAS CARRIED OUT BY USING NORTHERN RESOURCES.
    This claim is divisive and a lie, and will continue to fuel the anger that will continue to hold up our needs to agitate for 101% ownership and control of our God given resources.

    As long as people from the North continue to feed these lies to themselves and the rest of Nigeria we in the Niger Delta will not step down from our agitation for ownership and control of our resources.

    These claims are lies, they insult and assault us as a people and region, that has made sacrifices the beneficiaries of our natural resources will never make. If some foolish and ignorant Niger Delta people are willing to sell their birth rights the majority of us are not. If the greedy amongst us are willing to be beggars for what is our own, the majority that have been denied and impoverished for over 50 years, are no longer willing to accept these assaults.
    FACTS OF FACTS ABOUT THE FUNDING OF OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION IN THE NIGER DELTA.

    The first and unsuccessful exploration for oil was in 1908 by Nigeria Bitumen Coy. & British Colonial Petroleum around Okitipupa. (Before Amalgamation ).

    In 1938 Shell D’Arcy was granted exploration licence to explore for oil.

    In 1955, Mobil Oil Corporation started oil exploration in the Niger Delta.

    In 1956 Shell BP (formerly Shell D’Arcy) at that time the only concessionaire finally STRUCK oil at Oloibiri in COMMERCIAL quantity, after over 50 yrs of exploration.

    There are figures sourced from *Carland 1985, (colonial office and Nigeria (1898-1914) and annual report of the colonies.
    *Northern Nigeria 1904 and annual report of the colonies
    Northern Nigeria 1906 -1907 to support my claims and l will only respond to people who have cross checked or have superior facts to counter mine.

    I don’t deal with propaganda or lies. These are my facts bring yours. Nigeria of Southern and Northern protectorate were amalgamated for the simple economic reason that the colonial British government was running the North on deficit as the expenditure in the North was more than its revenue. While the revenue in the South was more than its expenditure.
    (And these facts are not about people who are bankers or good with figures it is about facts.)

    Therefore unless the North of Nigeria were oil prospecting partners with the Nigeria Bitumen Coy. & British Colonial Petroleum in 1908,
    Shell D’Arcy in 1938
    Mobil Oil Corporation in 1955 and Shell BP in 1956 it never used it’s groundnut money in our Niger Delta

    If the people of the North or the government of Northern Nigeria were not partners or shareholders in these private investment companies how on earth did money from groundnut and hides and skins used to explore for oil and gas.?

    The attempts to change the economic history of Nigeria to justify the injustice of looting the resources from NigerDelta to share amongst a few is not acceptable. The greed of a few to use the Nigeria state to continue to benefit maxzimally from the Niger Delta wealth while denying the rightful owners even the 50% they enjoyed in the days of groundnut and cocoa is no longer acceptable to the people of the Niger Delta.

    No amount of twisting, turning, threats, blackmail, and lies will stop our calls for equity and justice.

    It was in 1973, 3 years after the civil war, the genocidal war against the Igbos, that the First Participation Agreement (FPA) saw the Federal Government’s acquisition of 35% shares in the oil companies. In 1974 the Second Participation Agreement (SPA) the FG equity was increased to 55%.

    MY QUESTION. ON BEHALF OF MY PEOPLE AND REGION TO THE PEOPLE OF THE NORTH TO TELL US THE OWNERS AND IMPOVERISHED PEOPLE OF NIGER DELTA HOW THEIR GROUNDNUT PROCEEDS WAS USED TO FUND OIL PROSPECTING AND OPERATIONS IN MY NIGER DELTA.

    We maintain that it is possible for Nigeria to remain a Country, but we must first sit down and agree on a fresh agreement that we will all submit our demands and conditions to if we agree then we agree, if we disagree then we disagree.

    But we are no longer prepared to give away the future of our grand children and their children. Surely this is the least that even the North will ask for or demand, if the oil and gas was on and in their land.

    THE NORTH DID NOT AND HAVE NEVER USED THEIR GROUNDNUT OIL MONEY IN THE NIGER DELTA TO PROSPECT FOR OIL AND GAS OR ANY OTHER NATURAL RESOURCE PROSPECTING.

    ANNKIO BRIGGS
    DAUGHTER AND SERVANT OF THE NIGER DELTA.

  • Christopher Adodo

    First and foremost let us refresh our
    memories with some very important dates in African Americans history. They are as follows: The period from 1500 through 1882, 1885, 1886, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, and to 20008.
    In 1500, majority of African slaves arrived America through painful and inhuman conditions. There was a period of struggle for the abolition of slave trade.
    In 1882 to 1885, was the period of America civil war.
    In 1886, the proclamation and emancipation of slaves and civil rights laws, and so forth.
    Those who toiled, sacrifices their lives for him to become who he is today will be turning in their graves.

  • Rex

    If they were not immigrants then what were they? And who said immigration must be voluntary? He said the slaves worked longer hours for less: didn’t they? He said they had dreams and aspirations: didn’t they? I actually wonder what he said wrong, other than that he is not on the right side.

  • Michael-Ikem Okonkwo

    Thats what politics can help a man achieve. Afterall our president Buhari said Naira will be equivalent to Dollars. Story has long changed but his fools said he is still better than thr prophet mohamed

  • Olumba2004

    I think someone else should operate on Dr. Carson’s brain, It seems he has lost some nerves in his brain. Indeed! Something must be missing in his brain to equate slavery to voluntary immigration. Hogwash!!

  • Deji Fadina

    As far as I can remember, ALL, EXCEPT THE NATIVE INDIANS ARE IMMIGRANTS AND DESCENDANTS OF IMMIGRANTS INTO WHAT IS NOW USA.
    Perhaps, CARSON’S half brain, the one they removed, surgically, when they turned him into a surgeon, could not complete his statement.
    That was why he missed out the other immigrants.

  • Oti Oteri

    Amazing how much uproar there is over this matter at this point in time.

    When Barack Obama said something similar a few years ago there was not so much as a peep.

    You are either hypocrites or puppets. Choose One…

  • Benbella

    Wow wrong words guy

  • peter archibong

    the trouble is that, slaves dont really get to spot the difference in use of strange languages like english cos blood is still thicker than water…maybe carson should have spoken in ibibio which is his possible blood, then there wont have been any confusion

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