MSNBC guest-host Michael Eric Dyson picked apart conservative rhetoric linking the Affordable Care Act to the slave trade, honing in on Dr. Ben Carson’s statement that, “it is slavery, in a way.”
“Even if black men talk about slavery akin to the Affordable Care Act, they are wrong,” Dyson said while hosting The Ed Show on Thursday. “Black mouths are opening; white supremacists’ ideals are speaking. There’s a ventriloquist’s act going on here. So when you hear people like E.W. Jackson or Ben Carson or Allen West speak about slavery in relation to the Affordable Care Act, they are not giving you serious history.”
Dyson also took on the August 2013 remarks by a GOP congressional candidate linking the law to the Fugitive Slave Act.
“The Affordable Care Act and the Fugitive Slave Act: both laws. But I want to make one thing absolutely clear: the similarities end there,” Dyson said. “Slavery was one of the most dehumanizing acts of American history. It was a systemic attempt to deprive people of the privilege of existing freely. It made one group of people subordinate to another. It made race the central preoccupation of America.”
For a more thoughtful analysis, Dyson recommended viewers read Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death, which deals with the actual effects of slavery, like genealogical isolation, which left victims unable to know their family history, or the phenomena of “social death,” in which authorities did not recognize a slave’s basic humanity.
“The only thing that is comparable to slavery is slavery itself,” Dyson said. “Stop all the stuff. Ixnay on the comparative analysis of and the parallels to slavery. [The] Affordable Care Act has freed millions of people from their indentured existence in a system that denied them opportunity. Let’s not talk about their enslavement; let’s talk about their relative freedom to exercise their choice in 2013.”
Watch Dyson take on the conservative argument against Obamacare, as aired Thursday on MSNBC, below.
[Image via MSNBC]