In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary-designate Ben Carson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. (AP Photo/Zach Gibson)

What was Dr. Ben Carson thinking?

Carson likened slaves to immigrants who choose to come to the United States while addressing employees at the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday.

“There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who 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,” said Carson, who is Black.

“And do you know of all the nations in the world, this one, the United States of America, is the only one big enough and great enough to allow all those people to realize their dream? And this is our opportunity to enhance that dream,” said Carson, who was confirmed to lead HUD earlier this month.

Carson’s comments are insulting and offensive because he was equating voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude.

Carson, a renowned retired neurosurgeon, knows medicine but appears not to know and understand the history of slavery.

Carson apparently needs a history lesson.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica: “The Atlantic passage (or Middle Passage) was notorious for its brutality and for the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions on slave ships, in which hundreds of Africans were packed tightly into tiers below decks for a voyage of about 5,000 miles. They were typically chained together, and usually the low ceilings did not permit them to sit upright. The heat was intolerable, and the oxygen levels became so low that candles would not burn. Because crews feared insurrection, the Africans were allowed to go outside on the upper decks for only a few hours each day. Historians estimate that between 15 and 25 percent of the African slaves bound for the Americas died aboard slave ships. “

The brutal, inhumane treatment of the enslaved continued once brought to this land.

“Laws known as the slave codes regulated the slave system to promote absolute control by the master and complete submission by the slave. Under these laws the slave was chattel — a piece of property and a source of labor that could be bought and sold like an animal. The slave was allowed no stable family life and little privacy. Slaves were prohibited by law from learning to read or write.”

This is not the first time that Carson has minimized the horrors of slavery through outrageous comparisons.

In 2013, Carson said that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare — the Obama administration’s landmark healthcare law — was the worst thing “since slavery.”

“You know Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. “And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”

He also compared abortion to slavery in an interview with NBC during his 2016 presidential run.

Carson’s cavalier language on slavery is offensive and needs to stop.

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