Ben Carson on Civil Rights

Tea Party challenger in Republican primary


People can only afford to live in certain places

An Obama-era scheme called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing barely got underway before President Trump took office. Obama's Department of Housing and Urban Development floated a requirement for "balanced housing" in every suburb. "Balanced" meant affordable even for people who need federal vouchers. Towns had to make it possible for low-income minorities to choose suburban living and provide "adequate support to make their choices possible."

The real barrier to suburban living is money. Living in the 'burbs isn't cheap. HUD Secretary Ben Carson told a House committee last May that "people can only afford to live in certain places." It's "not because George Wallace is blocking the door."

Source: New York Post on 2020 Trump Cabinet , Jul 21, 2020

Scrap HUD tool for racial discrimination in public housing

In May of this year, Carson announced that he would be eliminating the software program used under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule to ensure that racial discrimination did not take place in public housing. Critics of Carson's decision say that this makes minorities vulnerable to discrimination and that Carson is more concerned about budgeting and pandering to the multifamily industry than maintaining equality.

Under pressure from advocacy groups, Carson invited the public to comment on the reform process. "A federal judge upheld our decision to suspend the use of a computer tool that was failing to help communities meet their fair housing responsibilities," Carson said. "What we want to do in pursuing new rulemaking--and why we're asking for public comment from all parties concerned--is to lessen regulatory burdens, while at the same time, help local officials meet their obligations," he added.

Source: Housing Wire's Jeremiah Jensen on 2017 Trump Cabinet , Sep 14, 2017

Everyone gets the same rights; nobody gets extra rights

I believe that the Constitution protects all of our rights. It gives people who believe in same-sex marriage the same rights as everybody else. What we have to remember is even though everybody has the same rights, nobody get extra rights. So nobody gets to redefine things for everybody else and then have them have to conform to it. That's unfair. It is the responsibility of Congress to correct what the Supreme Court has done.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Constitution protects gays equally, but not marriage

I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. And there is no reason that you can't be perfectly fair to the gay community. They shouldn't automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

I have nothing against gay people, but no marriage

I have nothing against gay people whatsoever. A lot of people [think] if you don't accept their entire agenda, then you're a homophobe. I personally believe that any two people, regardless of sexual orientation or anything else, have the right to associate together. If they want to have a legal contract drawn up which allows them to share property, have hospital visitation rights, do whatever they want, absolutely. That's the kind of country that this was designed to be, live and let live. Not impose your values on everybody else. And that's the problem. But with the Supreme Court ruling that changes essentially the definition of marriage, it doesn't take into consideration the implications of that. If you change it for one group, what defense do you have against the next group? So why change it in the first place? It's been working very well for thousands of years. And that's what happens when people go in and start tinkering with things without thinking about the implications of it.
Source: Carson speech at National Press Club , Oct 9, 2015

Political correctness undermines Black Lives Matter movement

Q: You were asked about the "Black Lives Matter" movement. And you called it "silly." Why did you call it silly?

CARSON: Well, I don't recall calling it silly, but what I called silly is political correctness going amuck. When, I guess it was Martin O'Malley who said, "Black lives matter, white lives matter." He got in trouble for that and had to apologize. That's what I'm talking about is silly. We need to be a little more mature, but certainly in cases where police are doing things that are inappropriate, I think we ought to investigate those promptly and justice should be swift.

Q: So do black lives matter?

CARSON: Of course all lives matter, and of course we should be very concerned about what's going on, particularly in our inner cities. You know, for a young black man, the most likely cause of death is homicide. That is a huge problem that we need to address in a very serious way.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 2, 2015

Homosexuality is a choice, but same-sex marriage is the law

In a statement issued after the Supreme Court ruling, Carson wrote that he disagrees with the decision to legalize same-sex marriage but that it is now the law of the land. The physician previously has argued that homosexuality is a choice and that he personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , May 3, 2015

Give gays rights, but not marriage, because it's a choice

Ben Carson said that "a lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they're gay." The remarks were made on CNN's "New Day" in response to a question about whether Carson thought being gay was a "choice."

"Absolutely," Carson replied. Asked why, he went on to explain his prison theory. "So did something happen while they were in there?" he said. "Ask yourself that question."

He continued, invoking his argument against same-sex marriage: "Why do gay people want to get married? Because they want to have various rights," he said. "Property rights, visitation rights--why can't any two human beings, I don't care what their sexual orientation is, why can't they have the legal right to do those things?"

Later in a statement to CNN, Carson backed down a bit from his morning remarks. "I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation," he said. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive."

Source: Politico.com 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 4, 2015

Don't let the PC police label conservatives as extremists

Carson urged conservatives not to submit to the "Politically Correct" police in his speech kicking off CPAC: "We shouldn't submit to the PC Police, and to people who are trying to control us by intimidation. The only reason they can do that is because we sit silently by. That's what they want us to do."

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently issued a begrudging apology to Carson, after it was discovered SPLC had added his name to an extremist watch list that includes members of the KKK, because of his views on marriage and abortion.

Carson chalked that up to what he called the left's love of re-labeling things. "If you're pro-life, than you're anti-woman," he said. "If you're pro-traditional family, than you're a homophobe. If you're white and you oppose a progressive black person, you're racist. And if you're black and you oppose the progressive agenda, and you're pro-life, and you're pro-family, they don't even know what to call you. You end up on some kind of watch list for extremists."

Source: DailyCaller.com: 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 26, 2015

Underdog status is not determined any longer by race

Today, there are many young people from a variety of racial backgrounds who are severely deprived economically and could certainly benefit from the extension of a helping hand in education, employment and other endeavors. The real question is this: Who should receive extra consideration from a nation that has a tradition of cheering for the underdog? I believe underdog status is not determined any longer by race. Rather, it is the circumstances of one's life that should be considered.

Who should receive extra consideration from a nation that has a tradition of cheering for the underdog? I believe underdog status is not determined any longer by race. Rather, it is the circumstances of one's life that should be considered.

Source: Washington Times, Carson Op-Ed, "Beyond Affirmative Action" , Feb 18, 2014

Underdog status is no longer determined by race

Today, there are many young people from a variety of racial backgrounds who are severely deprived economically and could certainly benefit from the extension of a helping hand in education, employment and other endeavors. The real question is this: Who should receive extra consideration from a nation that has a tradition of cheering for the underdog? I believe underdog status is not determined any longer by race. Rather, it is the circumstances of one's life that should be considered.
Source: Washington Times, "Beyond Affirmative Action" , Feb 18, 2014

Apologized for likening homosexuality to pedophilia

Ben Carson apologized for comments he made about gay marriage on Sean Hannity's TV show earlier this week. "I think in terms of what was said on Sean Hannity's show, that was taken completely out of context and completely misunderstood in terms of what I was trying to say. As a Christian, I have a duty to love all people and that includes people who have other sexual orientations, and I certainly do, and never had any intention of offending anyone. If anyone was offended, I apologize to you."

Carson came under scrutiny when he appeared to liken homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality, sparking the outrage of the LGBT community. "My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition," the doctor, who is the director of pediatric neurosurgery, said on Hannity's show.

Source: Breanna Edwards on Politico.com , Mar 29, 2013

Marriage should not be extended to same-sex couples

Carson remained firmly rooted in his belief that the term "marriage" should not be extended to same-sex couples, although he said the couples should be treated "kindly" and have whatever legal agreements they desire in order to transfer property and have visitation rights, among other rights. "Marriage is a very sacred thing and we need to maintain it as a sacred thing. When I say we don't want to change it or degrade it by calling everything marriage, that's not aimed at any particular group," he said. "But the fact of the matter is, the Bible and God have set very specific standards. It's very clear what's being said. God doesn't change, man changes. Our duty is to allow for that change and to still love them and in terms of what happens with them, that's a decision that's up to God, that's not our decision."
Source: Breanna Edwards on Politico.com , Mar 29, 2013

1960s: experienced racism in inner-city Boston and Detroit

I grew up in inner-city Detroit and Boston at the tail end of one of those dark periods in America's history. Slavery had long been abolished, but widespread racism remained. The civil rights movement was on the verge of completely transforming the social landscape, but such change often comes slowly. And today, decades later, I can still pinpoint the moment when I came of age regarding racism in America.

My brother and I were playing in Franklin Park in the Roxbury section of Boston when I wandered away alone under a bridge, where a group of older white boys approached me and began calling me names.

"Hey, boy, we don't allow your kind over here," one of them said. He looked at the others. "Let's drown him in the lake." I could tell they weren't just taunting me, trying to scare me. They were serious, and I turned and ran from there faster than I had ever run before in my life. It was a shocking introduction for a little boy to the racism that ran through America at the time.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 12 , Jan 24, 2012

Reparations for WWII Japanese ok, but not for slavery

I can understand the idea of reparations for the Japanese-American families who were unjustly interned during WWII. In that case, corrective action was taken at a time when many of the victims could actually benefit from it. In the case of slavery, however, there are neither slaves not slave owners currently living, so it seems unfair to require people who had nothing to do with slavery to pay for it. I understand the argument that the descendants of slave owners inherited property and large sums of money accumulated through slave labor, and are thus obligated to share the proceeds with the descendants of slaves. There is some legitimacy to such an argument, but no one can really quantify the percentage of assets derived from slave labor in order to distribute them. Furthermore, where do you draw the line for reparations in the past?
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.101-102 , Jan 24, 2012

Not all black candidates share Obama's left-wing politics

The election of Barack Obama as the 1st black president in 2008 was a momentous occasion and signaled the fact that race was no longer a barrier to election to the highest office in the land. However, people still disagree about whether or not the US remains racially divided. In the national election of 2012, we will have a wonderful opportunity to really see whether we have largely vanquished racism in America. Part of that final shift will require white Americans to set behind them the notion that most black candidates running for office share the same political left-wing leanings held by President Obama, and to embrace the process of scrutinizing candidates' positions rather than simply making assumptions about them. Doing so will help confirm that the evil of racism is losing its hold on this nation once defined by it.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.163-164 , Jan 24, 2012

Redefining marriage is slippery slope with disastrous ending

As a Bible-believing Christian, you might imagine that I would not be a proponent of gay marriage. I believe God loves homosexuals as much as he loves everyone, but if we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire. I don't believe this to be a political view, but rather a logical and reasoned view with long-term benefits to family structure and the propagation of humankind. When children grow up in an environment with loving parents who provide security, they are free to be happy and playful and eager to learn. God obviously knew what he was doing when he ordained the traditional family, and we should not denigrate it in order to uplift some alternative.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.182 , Jan 24, 2012

Legal binding relationship for gays to enjoy property rights

[Despite opposing a redefinition of marriage], I have no problem whatsoever with allowing gay people to live as they please, as long as they don't try to impose their lifestyle on everyone else. Marriage is a very sacred institution and should not be degraded by allowing every other type of relationship to be made equivalent to it. If gays or non-gays wish to have some type of legal binding relationship that helps with the adjudication of property rights and other legal matters, I certainly have no problem with that, but to equate that with marriage is going further than necessary.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.182 , Jan 24, 2012

Free speech is wonderful, but hate speech causes actual harm

Of all the wonderful freedoms that characterize life here in America, freedom of speech is one of the most important. This was most dramatically demonstrated in a recent Supreme Court decision, which upheld the rights of members of the Westboro Baptists Church to display extremely offensive signs and shout obscenities during funeral services for veterans. They are an intolerant hate group that despises homosexuality and are angry with the military because gays are allowed to serve. There is almost no one who agrees with the Westboro Church, but because of the Supreme Court's decision to strictly interpret the Constitution, the rights of the church members could not be denied.

I actually have some doubts about that legal decision, because the signs, obscenity, and noise infringe upon the rights of other Americans to assemble peacefully for the burial of one of their loved ones. If my right to free speech causes you actual harm, it becomes time to curtail my speech.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.186 , Jan 24, 2012

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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2021