I for one have grown increasingly uncomfortable with Ben Carson and HUD. I know in light of what’s going on with Stormy and the Russians and Bolton and the nukes, it seems trivial, but I don’t think it is.
The Trump administration is attempting to scale back fair housing laws, freezing their enforcement, and sidelining officials who have aggressively pursued civil rights cases. It’s all in keeping with Carson’s decision to strike the words “inclusive” and “free from discrimination” from HUD’s mission statement.
The first thought I had when I learned of it was that this kind of activity comprised Trump’s first foray into the court system: remember, he was charged with discriminatory rental practices in the 70s. He’s a vengeful man, Trump, and for him to remember that part of his life and work to overthrow those laws lies well within the realm of possibility. But there’s something almost perverted—even in the enlightened world of 2018—in cajoling a black man to do the dirty work that white men have often done without encouragement.
It’s not that Ben Carson, as a black man, must speak for “the” black man, but one would think that his awareness of the generations that have suffered that kind of bias—and the empathy that derives from that awareness— would preclude him from supporting such racially unfair practices, especially when they march in lockstep with a president who has shown himself to be a racist.
A recent Hud statement purports that this is all part of the routine recalibration that occurs when political leadership changes, but the head of the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity division has ordered a hold on about a half-dozen fair housing investigations given the highest priority under Mr. Carson’s predecessor, Julián Castro. This is no recalibration; it is, instead, an attempt to reverse the fair housing standards that were supposed to level the playing field.
Add to this the recent decision not to charge two Baton Rouge police officers with the July 2016 killing of Alton Sterling outside a convenience store; last week’s murder of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, killed by an officer looking for a vandal and emptying ten rounds into the young man; Michael Brown; Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. The list grows daily.
Yet through it all Trump remains silent, and his mouthpiece Sarah Sanders has stated that the killing of Clark is a “local matter.” They’re both wrong—he for hiding behind his own white supremacy and she for not recognizing (or admitting to) the frequency with which these incidents occur nationwide. Of course cynics will gladly inform you that, statistically, police kill more white people than they do black people; but what they won’t admit—though it’s true—is that a black man is three times as likely to be killed by a policeman as a white man.
It’s far from a local matter.
And into this highly charged atmosphere struts Ben Carson with his $33,000 furniture purchase and an eye to keep the black population of America from finding equal housing. It’s more than disturbing or distressing. It’s perverse, even degenerate. The struggle of minorities in this country, especially under an administration that values white America and barely tolerates the rest, deserves an ally in the Cabinet, not another turncoat of the same race.