Sunday, June 4, 2017


"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," [Carson] said in an interview that aired on Wednesday.

"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."
Housing Secretary Ben Carson calls poverty a 'state of mind'
My father pretty much told me the same thing when I was in junior high school. It's a common way of understanding inequality. The different between my father and Secretary Carson is that my father didn't come across as blaming people for their circumstances, or chalking up the plight of the poor to character flaws.

And I think that this is a recurring problem for Secretary Carson, because he doesn't seem to have the ability to speak to the public at large. Instead, he seems to craft messages that are designed to appeal to the sentiments of conservative Culture Warriors; sentiments that are inherently moralistic and that imply that the world is just (usually, anyway). And to the degree that the conservative Culture War outlook on poverty is that it results from poor character, Secretary Carson's comments come off as a combination of victim-blaming and character assassination. And as he cultivates (intentionally or not) this reputation, it becomes an expectation, and that expectation colors the way in which his words are taken. And the political distance between Secretary Carson and his critics often means that they are actively motivated to see him in a poor light.

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