Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thoughts about Dr. Carson and Other Black Republicans

I have a confession to make: I’ve never been physically assaulted by the KKK.  While I’ve encountered various members – growing up in Missouri, they’re hard to avoid – I never felt physically threatened by them.  They never burned a cross in my yard.  They haven't worn white hoods and robes to harass my family or me. So, by Ben Carson’s rationale, since I’ve never experienced direct racism from the KKK, they must not be a racist organization and I can give them a pass. 

I guess ignorance truly is bliss.

To me, this type of “logic” lacks many vital elements – like facts.  Just because I haven’t experienced racism from the KKK first hand, doesn’t mean that the KKK isn’t a racist organization that has done a ton of damage to minorities in this country.  I have the ability to think, read, and reason for myself.  It doesn’t take much to understand the KKK’s position on many social issues.  Any assessment saying otherwise means the assessor is either willfully ignorant or deliberately misrepresentation of the facts - most likely for personal gain.   

During a recent interview, Ben Carson repeated the same flaccid and extremely obtuse argument made by several Black conservatives – including Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas – that the only racism they’ve encountered was from “progressives”.  Dr. Carson goes so far to say that he hasn't experienced any racism from any conservatives or Republicans.  

You know, this may be true.  I have no idea what Dr. Carson has experienced in his life.  Ben Carson and his ilk may have lived a charmed life, and may have never been on the receiving end of rightwing racism – good for them.  But it is nearly impossible for anyone, especially Black people living in America today, to take Dr. Carson seriously - on ANYTHING - if he formulates his decisions and positions off of his personal experiences ONLY and nothing else - regardless of how overwhelming the evidence is to the contrary. 

I don’t doubt that Carson, Rice, Thomas, and many, many others had a negative experience from Democrats (though NOT progressives) - especially in the 1960’s South.  I don’t doubt that they experienced various forms of prejudice of all types today.  I’m also aware enough to understand that bigotry comes in all forms and, yes, even Democrats can be the perpetrator of racism.  But if Republicans were ever serious about expanding their tent to Black and Brown Americans, then this blatant warping of political perspectives must be addressed - preferable by Black Republicans.  I imagine when someone says, “don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining” they were referring to this type of scenario.  You can't turn a blind eye to the highly visible and blatant acts of bigotry spewing from Conservative leadership (hell, even Right-wing champion Erick Erickson said the Republican front runner's loudest online cheerleaders are the White Supremacist groups) then turn around and condemn President Obama for "being raised White", whatever THAT means.   

He's an 'African' American. He was, you know, raised white," the retired neurosurgeon said. "So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch."  - Dr. Ben Carson

To me  the "Black experience" isn't as simple as "growing up black."  And contrary to Dr. Carson, it sure as hell isn't exclusively in sync with growing up in poverty and fatherless.  Ironically, Dr. Carson's perspective IS what drives a lot of today's latent racism.  The thought that Black people only come from poverty and single parent homes is a perspective rooted in ignorance.  It's easy to summarize the "Black experience."  If you have been (or could have been) a recipient of some form of social injustice for no other reason than being Black, then you've had a "Black experience" in this country.

But, beyond that, Dr. Carson's comments reek of hypocrisy.  If one was so inclined as to believe that President Obama couldn't identify with the experience of Black Americans, at least he has an 'excuse' and made an attempt to support many (though, not all - nor should he) positions held by the majority of Black Americans.  Dr. Carson, what's your reason for opposing many positions held by the majority of Black Americans?  Because, if you can identify with the  'Black experience' then why would you believe that Obamacare was the "worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery"?  I guess the Jim Crow South was just a brief lapse in judgment by a few misguided youths?

From: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
In Dr. Carson’s world, things like “right-wing extremist” or “Southern Strategy.”  He is completely unaware or chooses to ignore the many campaigns of racists running for Republican political offices.  If he is aware, then his silence – and apparently outright ignoring – the rampant racism, bigotry and prejudice coming from his political party, speaks way louder than his twisted perspective.  Dr. Carson found the strength to speak out against the sophomoric rhetoric used by his fellow Republican Candidates, but has said little about Donald Trump's positions attracting the support of the KKK.  Look, if you listen to what the Republican candidates say and how many racist organizations agree with, support and advocate for those very same positions, all while looking the voting population in their eyes and pretend that bigotry, voter suppression, and White Nationalism aren’t part of the Conservative base platform, then yeah, you may deserve those Uncle Tom references.

General Thoughts?
Is saying Uncle Tom going to far?

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