In Brief

Samuel L Jackson slams Ben Carson for calling slaves 'immigrants'

Pulp Fiction star leads the criticism against Donald Trump's new housing secretary

Donald Trump's new secretary of housing and urban development is facing furious criticism, including from actor Samuel L Jackson, after referring to slaves brought into the US against their will as "immigrants".

Giving his first speech to staff, Dr Ben Carson, the only black member of Trump's cabinet, said: "There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land."

Pulp Fiction star Jackson was among the chorus of critics to speak out, tweeting: "OK!! Ben Carson....I can't! Immigrants? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! M********* PLEASE!!!"

Rana Hogarth, a history professor at the University of Illinois's department of African American studies, described the comparison as "inappropriate and wildly inaccurate", while there was scathing reaction across social media.

The Guardian is one of many publications to say that enslaved Africans were not immigrants and "were transported in the cramped, disease-infested holds of ships while shackled stationary as property of 'new world' and European corporations".

Carson attempted to clarify his statement on Facebook, saying the "slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences".

He added: "Immigrants made the choice to come to America. They saw this country as a land of opportunity. In contrast, slaves were forced here against their will and lost all their opportunities."

The furore will "likely prove an unwelcome distraction" for Carson, who is in his first full week in the job, says Sky News.

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