In his first speech as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson came under fire for equating today’s immigrants in search of a better life to the victims of American slavery, even though Obama delivered a speech in December of 2015 that was reminiscent of Carson’s condemned remarks, without the media firestorm to follow.
Carson told hundreds of federal employees on Monday that America is “a land of dreams and opportunity,” and was driving home the point that even slaves years ago who came to America had goals of achieving the American dream.
“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” Carson said. “But [slaves], too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
Following Carson’s speech, many took to social media to blast him for referring to slaves as immigrants.
In a speech that former President Obama delivered in December of 2015, he also referred to slaves as immigrants, in much the same light as Carson did during his Monday speech, and commented with remarkable similarity on their quest to come to America in pursuit of building a better life.
“It was 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,” said Obama.
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