Ben Carson: Apologize for Calling Poverty a “State of Mind”

Target: Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Goal: Apologize for calling poverty a “state of mind.”

Ben Carson, the Trump administration’s Housing and Urban Development secretary, said in a radio interview that “poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.” He went on to add that people who meet with unfortunate circumstances but maintain the “right mindset” will recover, but “[you] take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world [and] they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.”

Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, said, “All Americans, but particularly one of the top federal anti-poverty officials, should understand that the main causes of U.S. poverty are economic, not mental… [and] not some sort of personal attitude problem.” Add your name to the petition below to demand that Carson apologize for this wildly insensitive and misinformed comment.


Dear Secretary Carson,

Recently, you said in a radio interview that to a large extent, poverty is a “state of mind” and that getting out of poverty depends heavily on the mindset of the person struggling to make ends meet. This comment is incredibly insulting to the millions of Americans who live below the poverty line, and it showcases a dangerous and profound misunderstanding you have about the nature of poverty in this country.

As the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, you should be well aware that those who live in poverty in America are not in that situation because of their mindset or personal feelings. They live in poverty due to a combination of low wages, limited jobs, and a variety of other circumstances that are largely beyond their control. Furthermore, they rely on you and other government officials to not only understand their struggles, but to help alleviate them.

I demand that you apologize for this insensitive and destructive comment. The people of the United States who are struggling financially deserve government officials who sympathize with and understand their plight, not people who look down on them and suggest that a change of attitude is the solution to a widespread and well-documented economic problem.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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  1. what is this idiot doing in politics?? i wouldn’t even want him as my doctor! jerk!!!

  2. Typical nigg

  3. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    poverty is racist and sexist!

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