When Obama Compared Slaves to Immigrants, He Got Applause; Carson Gets Called ‘Uncle Tom’

Dr. Ben Carson, in a speech before employees of Housing and Urban Development, the department he now runs, likened slaves to “immigrants”: “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.”

Carson got hammered.

Late-night comic Trevor Noah said: “It makes them sound like they work at Wal-Mart. … Calling slaves ‘immigrants’ is like saying: ‘It’s not kidnapping. That person just got a free vacation in a basement.’ … Slaves weren’t immigrants. Because an immigrant has choice. They choose the country they’re going to because they hope it will bring them a better life. Saying that slaves are just another group of immigrants erases how black people were uniquely oppressed in America. It helps justify blaming African-Americans for their hardships.”

Actor Samuel L. Jackson tweeted: “OK!! Ben Carson … I can’t! Immigrants? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAF—- PLEASE!!! #d—headedtom.”

Actress Whoopi Goldberg said: “Were the slaves really thinking about the American dream? No, because they were thinking, ‘What the hell just happened?!’ You know, when people immigrate, they come with the idea that they’re going someplace for a better life. … It’s voluntary. … How does he miss what slavery is?! How does he miss that no slave came to this country willingly? … Ben, ‘Roots.’ Watch ‘Roots.'”

TV personality Star Jones tweeted: “No way in the world he is that friggin ignorant.” Using the pile-of-excrement emoji, she called the renowned neurosurgeon “(expletive) for brains.” She ended the tweet: “#UncleTom thy name is #BenCarson.”

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., insists that Carson’s “slave equals immigrant” perspective means he is unqualified to lead HUD because Carson “doesn’t know how urgent it is to confront racism” in housing: “It’s disturbing to me, and it should be to every American, not just black Americans. … For him, the HUD secretary, to have a stunning misunderstanding of history like that, is really, really striking. … And so for the HUD secretary not to get that means that he doesn’t know how urgent it is to confront racism and discrimination in housing, which is a very scary thing for the HUD secretary to not understand.”

Following the uproar, Carson posted this clarification on Facebook: “The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences. … 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.”

One slight problem.

The “insensitive” and “demeaning” slave-equals-immigrant argument was made on a number of occasions by President Barack Obama: “It wasn’t always easy for new immigrants,” Obama said at a 2015 naturalization ceremony for new citizens. “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.”

Even “Daily Show” host Noah admitted, “President Obama said something similar in 2015.” But, said Noah, “You could tell before (Obama) said that part he was thinking, ‘Damn, my speechwriter f—ed up.'”

In fact, according to the Federalist, Obama likened slaves to immigrants on 11 different occasions. “Whether our ancestors landed on Ellis Island,” said Obama, “or came here on a slave ship or crossed the Rio Grande, we are all connected to one another. We rise and fall together.”

Goldberg, Noah, Jackson and Ellison were obviously occupied the 11 times Obama showed he “doesn’t know how urgent it is to confront racism.”

Why the silence over Obama’s many slave-equals-immigrant comments versus the desk pounding by the same critics when Carson says the same thing? Carson represents an existential threat to the left. He is deadly to their cause — a black man, raised in poverty by a hardworking, welfare-abstaining single mom who taught her children to embrace hard work and education. The left believes that blacks are perpetual victims of slavery, Jim Crow and racism. It is vital for the existence of the Democratic Party to convince blacks to vote like victims in need of protection from the racist, sexist retrogrades known as Republicans. So black conservatives like Carson, who argues that welfare creates dependency, who demands choice in K-12 education and who believes hard work wins, must be attacked, marginalized and dismissed as “against their own people.”



LarryElderLarry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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  1. Slavery in the U.S. was ended more than 150 years ago, and the U.S. and Great Britain were the two countries in the world where the abolitionists worked hard and eventually prevailed against the evil of slavery. The Left conveniently neglects to mention that fact. They also neglect to mention other facts, such as that actual buying and selling of persons persists in the world, mostly by Muslims, one of the Left’s favored groups; that the material well-being and health of the descendants of slaves in the U.S. is much better, on the whole, than the health and well-being of the average African. The Left must preserve the belief that racially-based oppression persists in our country in order to whip up resentment and anger as they posture as the saviors of African-Americans, all the while keeping them in a state of servile dependency.

  2. Hal G. P. Colebatch

    Ben, don’t let them intimidate you. Godspeed!

  3. I guess the liberals want to keep the poor people slaves to the Democratic liberals. The liberals do not want to give the poor a ladder to success. If the poor were able to climb up to better circumstances they may not be for the Liberals who want to keep them down. Not fair to the poor but they will have to see this for themselves.

  4. Same old playbook for the left and their enablers. Tell’em where to put it, Doctor — in a nice way, of course.

  5. These people, the liberal left have exposed their hippocracy time and time again, and ust keeping on doing it. Shows you how insulated they are in their own agenda, going against anything any conservative says even if one of their leftist gods have said the same things. They are grabbing at every straw in their desparate attempt to be relavent. Much of America is waking up to this madness, even in the face of the “mediacrats” gospel of leftist lunacy. They don’t know it but I think they are digging their own graves of irrelevancy.

  6. The Irish Prime Minister also just called St. Patrick an “immigrant” to Ireland when he was brought there as a slave. Even called him the patron saint of immigrants. Haven’t heard anyone peep about this since it was meant as a dig on Trump.