by: Saamir Baker
On Monday, March 6th, 2017, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson made a very controversial statement in a speech to his HUD employees. “That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said. “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.”
The SLA Community had a variety of reactions to this statement. None of them were positive. The history teachers in particular had opinions about the cultural significance of Carson’s words. Mr.Todd, the world history and constitution/government teacher, mentioned how Carson “Tacked slavery on there, to include everybody” to talk about immigration and the recent immigration ban.
Mr.Baird, who teaches world history, american history, and political theory/economics, added onto Todd’s statement by stating that perhaps, because Carson came from a lower socioeconomic class and is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, he might believe fervently in the American dream.
“It’s fascinating and horrifying that you have the Housing And Urban Secretary, of all secretaries, talking about slavery as this vaguely benign immigration experience. There’s a lot of layers to it.” Mr. Symonds commented.
In the freshmen African American history courses at SLA, slavery is talked about in the first quarter but isn’t the main focus of the year, since black people’s contributions to America and the world aren’t limited to slavery.
There has been a lot of history being made with the new presidency of Donald J. Trump and the Trump administration. And it’s interesting to see how new history unfolds.