|CARSON: Fits in w/ Trump crowd|
He would always cite himself as an example -- an educated black man who was working his way up through the process of trying to achieve success as a broadcaster. In fact, these days he's a person of some success working on the local radio scene in Indianapolis. He and his family, he'd say, managed to achieve success without any help!
I COULDN'T HELP but think of my old friend (whom I must confess I haven't seen personally for several years) when I learned of the nit-witted rant that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson went on earlier this week -- the one that compared the transport of all those Africans to this continent to serve as slave labor to the travails faced by immigrants who chose to come to this country in search of a better life.
I'm not surprised that Carson would think such thoughts. I have known of black people who resent the fact that many in our society are willing to acknowledge the hassles confronted by immigrants while refusing to acknowledge anything difficult about the travails that black people have faced in trying to find a niche in this society.
So maybe he's merely trying to boost up the situation of black people. Although I doubt his motives are that simple.
I'd be more likely to think that he's trying to drag down the circumstances of all those people whose ancestors had a relative or two (in my case, it was both of my grandfathers and my paternal grandmother) whose desire to escape whatever hellish existence they were enduring in the "old country" was so strong that they put up with having to learn how to exist in a completely different environment.
|Only someone blinded by ideology would think ...|
AND NOT ONLY that, but to get ahead in the strange settings. That's why it can be argued that the immigrants amongst us are usually our society's greatest strength, and that if we really wanted to become a "Third World nation," we should go ahead and impose the nativist-inspired policies that often are touted by the most intense backers of our newly-elected president.
Our nation would really become Mississippi, which certainly isn't something we ought to be striving for. If anything, we ought to be doing everything in our power to bolster that state because the jokes we make about its economic conditions really aren't funny and do go a long ways to holding us all back.
But back to Carson, who used his first major public appearance since being confirmed as HUD secretary to make such comments at a time when his boss is trying to push the Republican majority in Congress to impose hard-core changes in immigration policy to further restrict the kinds of people who can seriously consider relocating to a life in the United States.
|... people in these two predicaments are similar|
THESE ARE THE people who object to the argument being made that immigrants do the jobs that our citizens just won't do. They say we ought to use the black masses of unemployed to do such work.
Although I know one of my former work colleagues who is black would retort to that line of logic by saying, "We already did our time picking cotton!"
So when I hear that Carson has made such comments, I have to shake my head in dismay. Even though I realize that he probably has gone through a lifetime of having the bigots amongst us make presumptions that any success he achieved wasn't deserved.
But in making such comments, I can't help but feel that Carson is trivializing the situation not only of immigrants but also of black people. He's providing aid and comfort to those who have a racial hang-up to his success in life (he was a neurosurgeon, although his latest theories about being able to trigger presise memories in one's brain sounds more like Dr. Frankenstein at work).
HE'S HURTING HIMSELF and the circumstances of the many black people who probably could have made something successful out of their lives and made worthy contributions to our society if only they hadn't to deal with the interference of policies such as "Jim Crow" in the South and other nonsense from people who just couldn't deal with the idea of an equal playing field.
|TRUMP: Filling his staff w/ such people|
It's why my own Facebook account is now filled with people who felt compelled to show diagrams of slaves jammed into ship cargo holds and mockingly say those are "immigrants, traveling in steerage" or wisecracks that "Harriet Tubman must have been a very successful travel agent."
Carson is showing just how out-of-touch with reality he is, although I suspect that's probably the very reason why Donald J. Trump took him seriously and gave him a cabinet appointment. Just as I'm sure the contempt felt by many towards Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (who himself has often spoken out against affirmative action) only adds to the support felt for him by the conservative ideologues.
That kind of split may well be piece of evidence Number One on the list of reasons why we can't come together as a society.