Ben Carson Argues Reparations Are Unfair Because It Isn’t Right to Provide Benefits to ‘Those Who Were Not Actual Victims’
Former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson wrote in a Sunday op-ed that race-based equity initiatives are racist, “un-American” and ineffective.
Carson said the conversation around race relations has shifted from being about equality from equity which has resulted in an abandonment of the values of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.
“That is, instead of pursuing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideal of judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, equity would reward and punish people because of the color of their skin. Rather than equality of opportunity, equity would mandate equality of outcome,” wrote in The Washington Post opinion piece.
“This goal is not only un-American — it is impossible to attain.”
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate in the 2016 Republican primaries, said the concept of equity “starts with the proposition that the White majority is guilty of bigotry and oppression, and that all differential outcomes between groups are solely the result of that bigotry and oppression.”
Carson specifically criticized reparations bill H.R. 40, as a House Committee votes to study the issue of distributing payments to descendants of slaves. He also condemned affirmative action hiring programs that actively recruit minorities, and campaigns aimed at supporting only Black-owned businesses.
Carson expressed his disapproval for a basic income pilot program aimed at proving Black, Indigenous, and other minority families of color below a certain income threshold in Oakland, California with a month stipend.
“The program explicitly excludes poor White families,” Carson wrote.
“Proponents of equity see no problem with treating groups of people differently based solely on race, as long as it serves their agenda. This is what we used to call racism, and those not blinded by identity politics still recognize it as such.”
Carson’s characterization of the Oakland program is sharply at odds with how the Oakland Resilient Families directors describe the new initiative.
Justin Berton, a spokesperson for the Oakland mayor, said this month, “We have had to clarify that while no family is prohibited from applying, this pilot is designed to serve and support BIPOC families, who evidence shows suffer the greatest and most disproportionate impacts of poverty.”
Carson also it wouldn’t be fair to hold people alive today responsible for things that happened before they were born, nor would it be fair to provide benefits to “those who were not actual victims.”
Carson concluded by saying redistribution efforts promote race-based victimization narratives and that efforts would be better spent on improving family structure, educational attainment, and workforce participation.
“I took responsibility for my own life and achieved more than what equity advocates would say our current system allows,” he wrote. “Rather than teach our children that they are victims of a racist system in which they can only be made whole by making people who have done nothing wrong pay for the past sins of others, we should teach them that they are in charge of their own dignity and their own future.”