Amid fallout over Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s comments that enslaved Africans were “immigrants,” Sunny Hostin defended his character on “The View.”
As Carson gave a speech to HUD employees Monday, March 6, he said, “There were other immigrants who came [to America] in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.” The backlash was swift and the hosts on the Tuesday, March 7, edition of the ABC talk show largely criticized Carson’s statement. Hostin was the sole person on the panel who unabashedly took up for the retired neurosurgeon, sharing the clarification he issued on Facebook.
“The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences,” it read. “The two experiences should never be intertwined, nor forgotten, as we demand the necessary progress towards an America that’s inclusive and provides access to equal opportunity for all.”
Hostin said Carson cares about the Black community and she seemed to blame his lack of historical knowledge on his social awkwardness.
“I know Ben very well because my husband was mentored by Ben at Johns Hopkins [hospital] and I can tell you that he feels very deeply about the African-American community,” Hostin says. “He held a dinner for the African-American residents at Johns Hopkins Hospital and we looked forward to it …”
“I have Black friends, too!” co-host Whoopi Goldberg interjects.
“But don’t we all have that friend that they mean well and they say things and you go, ‘Oh, ooh!’ ” Hostin continues. “He’s one of those really smart people that is extremely socially awkward. I would be more concerned if I didn’t know him well.”
“How does he miss what slavery is?” Goldberg responds before imploring Carson to watch “Roots,” the miniseries about an African man who is sold into enslavement. “How does he miss that no slave came to this country willingly?”