Dr. Ben Carson has spoken out about his neighbors displaying Confederate flags and his home being targeted by vandals in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The secretary of housing and urban development wrote a Facebook post in response to last weekend’s events, in which clashes broke out at a white supremacist rally, leaving one counterprotester dead after a car ploughed at high speed into the group she was with.
Carson said his family had previously been the target of bigotry when they moved to their rural Maryland neighborhood, and had more recently been targeted for his support of Trump.
“Regarding all of the racial and political strife emanating from the events in Charlottesville last weekend, let me relate a story,” Carson wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday evening. “Several years ago we bought a farm in rural Maryland. One of the neighbors immediately put up a Confederate flag. A friend of ours who is an African-American three-star general was coming to visit and immediately turned around, concluding that he was in the wrong place. Interestingly, all the other neighbors immediately put up American flags, shaming the other neighbor, who took down the Confederate flag.
“More recently our home in Virginia along with that of a neighbor was vandalized by people who also wrote hateful rhetoric about President Trump. We were out of town, but other kind, embarrassed neighbors cleaned up most of the mess before we returned.”
The politician told NBC 4 News that “Fuck Trump” had been painted on his wall and his house had been toilet-papered. But he said it was important to respond with grace.
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Speaking about the violence in Charlottesville and demands for Confederate monuments to be removed, Carson told NBC 4 News, “We need to explain to people that many of the Confederate monuments that were put up were put up specifically during the Jim Crow era, specifically during the civil rights movement, to make a statement.”
However, he refused to tackle the president’s much-criticized stance on the issue, instead saying it was not helpful to point fingers.
Discussing his reaction to bigotry in his Facebook post, Carson added, “In both instances, less than kind behavior was met by people taking the high road. We could all learn from these examples. Hatred and bigotry unfortunately still exists in our country and we must all continue to fight it, but let’s use the right tools.”
“By the way, that neighbor who put up the Confederate flag subsequently became friendly. That is the likely outcome if we just learn to be neighborly and to get to know each other,” he said.
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