Former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson published op-ed that race-based equity initiatives are racist, “un-American” and not effective. Carson said the discussion surrounding race relations has shifted from being about equality to equity which has caused an abandonment of the values of 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,” Carson wrote in his op-ed published in The Washington Post. “This goal is not only un-American — it is impossible to attain.”
The retired neurosurgeon says 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 criticized reparations bill H.R. 40, while a House Committee votes to study the issue of distributing payments to descendants of slaves. Carson condemned affirmative action hiring programs that actively recruit minorities, along with campaigns aimed at supporting Black-owned businesses. Carson went on to express his disapproval for a basic income pilot program aimed at proving Black, Indigenous, and other minority families with 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 criticism of the Oakland program was towards the Oakland Resilient Families directors. Justin Berton, a spokesperson for the Oakland mayor, said earlier 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 wrote it would be unfair to hold people alive now responsible for sins that happened before they were born or to provide benefits to “those who were not actual victims.”
“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.”