What would you say if someone re-imagined slavery? A simple script edit could change the en-slaved African into a so called ‘immigrant’? Victims of the slave trade may deem this attempt to re-imagine their history disrespectful or better yet a slap in the face to their ancestors. This scenario may sound absurd to the historically inclined, however, the truth is these 'script edits' are happening more often then we would like to imagine.
Ben Carson head of the US Department of Urban Housing has joined the ranks of those who think 'slaves' were actually 'immigrants' who migrated to the Americas, but he is not alone.
A few years ago Mcgraw-Hill came under scrutiny when it was discovered that that they printed high school text books that attempted to re-classified African ‘slaves’ as ‘immigrants.’ The story was made public when the mother of high school student Cody Burren took to social media in her frustration.
Dean-Burren told ABC that "that she believes the word "immigrants" insinuated that African slaves arrived on the continent willingly and that the word workers "implies pay," though slaves weren't paid at all, and in fact, often "mutilated and abused."
In response to the legitimate concerns of the descendants of the slave trade the company issues this apology.
“This week, we became aware of a concern regarding a caption reference to slavery on a map in one of our world geography programs. This program addresses slavery in the world in several lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course. However, we conducted a close review of the content and agree that our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves.
We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor.”
Unfortunately, we have arrived at this erroneous thought once again. This time the official story has been artistically re-imagined by Ben Carson. In his speech today, Dr. Carson attempted to inter-weave the stories of the descendants of 'slaves' and the descendants of ‘immigrants.’ He alluded to the thought that these ‘immigrants’ aka 'slaves' came to America for the pursuit of prosperity. His attempt to sanitize this unforgettable history is the second witness in recent times for this horrific trend.
Who has concocted such a tale? How did enslaved Africans forced by Europeans to migrate to the Americas become ‘immigrants’?
The blogosphere is in an uproar over the words of Ben Carson so in all fairness let’s take a look and listen to what he actually said.
“There were other ‘immigrants’ who came here on the bottom of slave ships who worked even longer and harder for less but they too, they had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
Hopefully you watched from the beginning of the clip where Dr. Carson is heard speaking about the wonder of the human brain.
”There is nothing in this universe that can begin to compare with the human brain and what it is capable of,…it remembers everything you have ever seen and ever heard.”
Dr. Carson so wonderfully praised the human brain, I agree, brains are awesome especially when we use them to think. Here are a few thoughts to think about.
Why did he say ‘immigrants’ came on the bottom of ‘slave’ ships?
Why did he mention a ‘slave’ ship, why not a passenger ship?
Why did he mention Ellis island 'immigrants' in the same breathe as 'those other immigrants who worked even harder even longer for even less?'
Were these supposed ‘immigrants’ looking for prosperity or were they just trying to get free from forced labor?
Speaking of getting free, Dr. Carson’s statements come as the prelude to the season premiere of Underground a tele-drama series following the stories of runaway slaves trying to make it to ‘freedom’ or possibly ’prosperity.’ None-the-less in the spirit of continuing the quest to understand ‘Black History’ and the effects of the trans-Atlantic slave trade the #levproject will be following the series and giving our review.
Remember what Dr. Carson said "the brain...it remembers everything you have ever seen, or ever heard...it's all there it doesn't go away, you just have to learn how to recall it."
Share your thoughts, but please don't forget to take the niceness pledge as per Dr. Carson for the next week. Now that is actually something I can vibe with #soulonomics.