Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, left, told SiriusXM radio host Armstrong Williams: “If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty. She was a person who absolutely would not accept the status of victim.” (Twitter/SiriusXMPolitics)
WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has been keeping a low profile in the Trump administration until this week when he created an uproar by describing poverty as “a state of mind.”
During a SiriusXM radio interview with Armstrong Williams that was taped Tuesday and aired Wednesday, Carson said poor people learned the “wrong mindset” from their parents.
“Poverty, to a large extent, is also a state of mind,” he said.
“You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there.
“And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom,” he said.
Carson also suggested that there was a “poverty of spirit” and that bad parenting could result in “the wrong mindset” and a “defeatist attitude.”
But Carson did acknowledge poor people cannot always overcome their circumstances on their own.
“The majority of people don’t have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don’t see the way, and that’s where government can come in and be very helpful,” he said.
The retired neurosurgeon oversees a department that manages housing for the country’s low-income population.
The Republican made a failed bid for the White House last year. Williams, a conservative syndicated columnist, was his top adviser during the campaign.
Carson’s comments quickly drew criticism on social media.
Star Trek actor George Takei wrote on Twitter: “Ben Carson says that poverty is a ‘state of mind.’ You know what else is a state of mind? Always being a blithering idiot.”
Ben Carson says that poverty is a “state of mind.” You know what else is a state of mind? Always being a blithering idiot.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 24, 2017
Carson has spoken about overcoming a childhood of poverty in Detroit to become was the first African-American to chair the department of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
During the interview, he attributed his success to his mother.
“If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty,” he said. “She was a person who absolutely would not accept the status of victim.”
This was not the first time Carson has caused an uproar with controversial remarks.
In March, he called black slaves “immigrants” and later apologized. In 2013. he said Obamacare was the “worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
— SiriusXMPolitics (@SXMPolitics) May 23, 2017
Democratic Senators Tim Kaine (Va.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) told TMN they were offended by Carson’s most recent comments.
“That’s pretty insensitive to a lot of very poor people that I know in Virginia. It really is,” said the 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate.
“Poverty is a status that people do not want to be in and part of it is caused by lack of opportunity, part is happenstance, part of it is bad luck-but its something that is not a state of mind,” Cardin said.
This article is republished with permission from Talk Media News.
Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner. She also launched an award-winning investigative news website that tackled police and political corruption in Baltimore. She has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and Baltimore County Public Schools. Regina became a journalist because even as a child she was fascinated by the power of the press: how it could force a president out of office, elect a president, expose corruption, and shine a light on discrimination. She is passionate about giving a voice to people who are disenfranchised, ignored or powerless, including people of color, senior citizens, the impoverished, people with disabilities, veterans, and children. Issues in which she is particularly interested include race relations, criminal justice, and police brutality. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In her spare time, Regina enjoys traveling,antiquing, window-shopping for carsand watching HGTV.