Housing Secretary Ben Carson came to testify before Congress about the workings or non-workings of Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). When Carson was first appointed, I, like many others, wondered what expertise he had to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Donald Trump once stated he hired the best folks for the job. We learned through the hilarity that ensued from Carson’s testimony of his ignorance and lack of knowledge about Hud inner workings and basic understanding of simple terms.
It started when Rep. Katie Porter (D. CA) inquired if Carson understood the housing term “REO” during his testimony before the Financial Services Committee. REO stands for real-estate owned and refers to foreclosed properties. Carson thought she was referring to “Oreo” cookies. He had no idea of what the housing acronym stood for. Secretary Carson expects to cut over 16% from HUD’s budget which lawmakers on the committee wanted to address. Instead Carson showed a lack of even basic terms after spending two years on the job.
What was worse than Carson’s ignorance of basic terms was his poking fun of his ignorance on Twitter. On Twitter, he showed a photo of him with a bag of Oreo cookies poking fun at his ignorance. He sent cookies to the Congresswomen. But laughing at his ignorance is misplaced on several levels.
Many persons are becoming homeless through the efforts of Ben Carson and the Department of Housing. That is no laughing matter. And ignorance of one’s basic job duties on one of the most important agencies is no need for laughter.
As an African American, I was also appalled on another level. Historically, many African American slaves had to use humor and dance before their white masters to appease them. After slavery, many African American entertainers had to perform during minstrel shows where they performed before white audiences in a degrading matter. That’s how I saw Carson yesterday following his “performance” testifying. He went into minstrel mode. Sadly, his perceived comic Twitter act following his testimony was not funny. It was no more funny than Blacks performing degrading minstrel acts in the 19th century.
For probably the first time, I actually agree with Meghan McCain. McCain said Ben Carson should be developing brain cancer treatment and not working at HUD. Honestly, I no longer believe he has a functioning brain. He definitely should not be working at HUD.
As an African American, I was appalled at Carson’s lack of knowledge of HUD terminology and then his attempt to make light of his ignorance. In any other era, Secretary Carson would no longer be Secretary of HUD today. He would have resigned in disgrace. Instead, he is serving up Oreo cookies at HUD. Carson, as HUD Secretary, is the real joke.
Washington, D.C,. Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and trial attorney.