By definition, Uncle Tom means:
‘A [person with brown skin] who is overeager to win the approval of whites (as by obsequious behavior or uncritical acceptance of white values and goals).’
Ben Carson is the epitome of what it means to be an Uncle Tom. He proves that it is possible to be so disconnected from the plight of your own ethnic group that you don’t identify with the struggles and systemic barriers that people within your group face. It’s called internalized racism and it’s real. Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas and others like them are consummate internalized racists.
Carson added one more example to his vast repertoire of Uncle Tom behavior on Monday when he said slaves brought to America were “immigrants.” in full context, Carson’s blatant ignorance sounded like:
‘That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. 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.’
Carson didn’t misspeak, state an alternative fact, or goof. He once again proved that he is so disconnected from who he is, that he would utter the language that oppressors have spoken for hundreds of years, language meant to degrade, minimize, and erase the cruel and inhumane treatment that slaves endured.
Celebrities across all ethnic groups refused to let Carson’s stupidity slide. They quickly took to Twitter to school, shame, and put him right in his place:
Cue the twisty-ass contrarian takes on this plain-to-see idiocy from click-hungry alt right bloggers. https://t.co/r4hJgCp58c
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 6, 2017
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) March 6, 2017
Their dream? Not be kidnapped, tortured, raped, forced to mate, work for another’s gain, torn from family + culture. pic.twitter.com/lvpqUMGE2w
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 6, 2017
Because it seems that the oh so scholarly Carson totally doesn’t understand what it means to be an immigrant, Whoopi Goldberg broke that down for him:
Ben Carson..please read or watch Roots, most immigrants come here VOLUNTARILY,cant’t really say the same about the slaves..they were stolen
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) March 6, 2017
While all of tweets that put Carson in his place are powerful, the one that provides the metaphoric mic drop is from the Anne Frank Center. For, along with African slaves in America and their descendants, few groups have been as openly persecuted and systemically oppressed as Jewish people. The Center tweeted:
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) March 6, 2017
The Anne Frank Center’s tweet in solidarity with brown people is powerful, but saddening, as it shows just how much Carson has allowed himself to be whitewashed.
As CNN once said:
‘One man’s hero, is another man’s sellout.’
For many Ben Carson replaced his status as a hero for brown people and traded it for titles like sell-out and Uncle Tom a long time ago. For that reason and more, his selection as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was just one more insult by Donald Trump. Simply put: you don’t pick someone who has no regard for the people of the inner city to oversee programs that mostly impact the inner city.
Featured Image via Getty/Larry Busacca/Staff