To Dr. Ben Carson,

To my understanding, you said slaves were immigrants who had a dream for their descendants to have a life that was better than theirs. I think you are mistaken. An immigrant leaves their country because they chose to. Whether or not that choice was made because of fear or a specific want, it was still a choice they made. My family is Puerto Rican. We come from an island that was pillaged by the immigrant-explorer known as Columbus. My people were murdered to make way for “immigrants”. The island of Puerto Rico was given it’s name by immigrant/explorers which is different from the name it’s people gave it. That original name was Borinquen. I doubt you know that name as I doubt most American people would know that name.

Some of the Borinquen who survived the initial cleansing were turned into slaves. Their land was taken from them and they were taken from their land to other continents they probably only knew about through stories heard from sailors who happened to find their little island. I’d be hard pressed to believe that they were thinking about the children they’d have and their bright futures while chained in the bottom of those boats, like so many sacks of fruit, vegetables, and seeds. I’d wager they thought about how much longer they had to live.

I can’t believe I have to tell you this, as it’s common knowledge but a slave is an unwilling traveler. In fact, a slave is a possession brought from one place to another as you would a vacuum or a hand towel. A slave is not treated as a person, so by definition a slave is not an immigrant. An Immigrant moves of their own accord. Outside forces are a factor yes, but an immigrant makes the choice to leave their home in search of something different, something better than they had, in a land far removed from their own. An immigrant chooses to experience other cultures while a slave is either made to accept a new culture or at the very least violently admonished for hanging on to their own.

Dr. Ben Carson, it confuses me how a neurosurgeon could be so blind as to equate a slave and an immigrant as you have done. Far be it from me to say the only people who experienced slavery were the Borinquen. However, I do not wish to speak for people whom I known nothing about.


A Puerto Rican