UPDATED 8:50 p.m. ET: Hours after addressing HUD employees, Carson appeared on the Armstrong Williams Show to defend his comments that equated slaves to immigrants. He stated that there was nothing wrong with his comments, as he believes slaves are technically immigrants, and that anyone who criticized the comments was simply "trying to stir up controversy."
A caller questioned the HUD Secretary about his choice of words, and explained that her child had an issue with the slave-immigrant reference, as an immigrant is not brought to the country against his/her will. Carson responded: "Yes, you can. You can be an involuntary immigrant."
Read the original story below.
Does Ben Carson know the definition of “slave”?
On Monday, Carson gave his first official address as the Housing and Urban Development Secretary—a speech that included several controversial claims about slavery. He told the crowd of agency employees that slaves were immigrants who hoped to better their families’ lives in the ”land of dreams and opportunity." Yes, he actually said that.
"That's what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity," Carson said, as reported by the Huffington Post. "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 […]
Ben Carson just referred to *slaves* as "immigrants"
"There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships..." pic.twitter.com/WkFrm3dYCB
One would assume such ignorant comments would cause the crowd to collectively cringe; however, a HUD spokesperson told Good Morning America's Michael Del Moro that no one in the audience—a pretty bold statement—believed the secretary “was confusing voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude. Please.”
Twitter, of course, didn’t hesitate to express their feels, which ranged from bewilderment to disappointment to frustration. Samuel L. Jackson was one of the many people outraged by Carson's remarks, sending out a tweet that included an Uncle Tom reference. You can check out the reactions below.