Thursday, November 05, 2015

Is Ben Carson Terrible for Black Americans?

One of the great mysteries to me is how well Ben Carson - who I view as a complete lunatic even if soft spoken and seemingly reasonable until you consider his actual policy positions - is doing in Republican polls.  This is the same party that has openly embraced racism and white supremacists and that has been driven to hysteria by a black man in the White House.  What gives?  First, it must be remembered that the vast majority of Republican voters are not backing Carson and I suspect never will because he is black.  The second question is whether Carson can garner the support of black voters even as he pushes policies that work against their interests.  In a guest editorial in Time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player, makes the case that Carson is terrible for Black Americans.  Here are some op-ed excerpts:
Now that Ben Carson is the leading GOP candidate, the doctor is under a lot more pressure, not just as a candidate, but as a representative of African Americans. . . . Would President Ben Carson be good for African Americans?

Ben Carson is good for African Americans in that he is a deeply moral man who has done much good as a physician. . . . Had he decided to dedicate his post-retirement life to promoting STEM education across the country, he would have been a model for the American ideal that anything is possible.
However, he chose to run for president of the U.S., and that’s bad for African-Americans. His repressive, muddled and pious policies and opinions often run against our Constitution—but his questionable proposals will likely, thankfully, be doomed by his lack of political expertise. His presidency would be marked by even worse gridlock while he wastes his time trying to impose his narrow and sometimes ill-informed morality on the other 319 million people in the nation. And it would definitely not be good for African Americans to have a president who flounders helplessly in office because it would perpetuate the stereotype that blacks can’t be effective CEOs, quarterbacks and leaders.

[H]e has expressed several opinions that are contrary to scientific evidence and therefore call into question his logic—a quality crucial in a president. His claim that sexual orientation is a choice is remarkably unscientific.

For a physician to ignore the preponderance of scientific proof in favor of his own religious beliefs is dangerous because is it justifies enacting laws that restrict human and civil rights. Carson has since apologized, but we should never forget that pseudo-science was used to prove blacks were physically and mentally inferior to whites and to justify slavery. 
But Carson’s opposition to science doesn’t stop there. Global climate change is a major issue affecting the future of human life. International conferences take place in order to determine how quickly this process is proceeding, and studies show that 97% of actively publishing climate scientists conclude human activity has caused climate warming. Yet Carson says he has not seen “overwhelming science” that proves climate change is manmade. This head-in-the-sand approach could prove disastrous to the country’s survival, never mind the Earth’s.

[W]hen an elected leader ignores testimony from 97% of the world’s experts, renowned physicists and the CDC, we have to question his decision-making abilities. Carson perpetuates the black stereotype of someone who’s too confused or frightened by all that complicated science so he or she ignores it, clinging to superstitions or religion. Obviously, white politicians have been making the same buffoonish claims, but they aren’t representative of a minority struggling to achieve equality. 

Education reform is especially important for the black community because of the overwhelming evidence that black children are not receiving the same quality of education as white students. . . . . Ben Carson, who defers to his religious faith in the face of scientific evidence, does not seem like a strong advocate for quality education.

It’s also alarming to hear Carson refer to black Americans as unable to think for themselves because they disagree with him.

A Carson presidency would also be a direct attack on the health of African-Americans: he equated the Affordable Care Act to a form of slavery. Between 2013 and 2014, Obamacare reduced the number of uninsured blacks from 24.1 percent to 16.1 percent. It also funded community health centers, where African Americans make up nearly 25% of the patients, to the tune of $11 billion. This is a matter of life and death, not political posturing.  . . . . Carson’s own health-care plan, which he proposed last week, is vague and lacks substance. According to the Washington Post, “it would neither expand access to health care nor improve quality, nor save a whole lot of money.” But it would get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
Actually, poverty is the form of slavery that is most insidious in America, and it is perpetuated by institutional racism, which Ben Carson seems to deny exists.

Carson insists that the black community must resist government handouts that have made us a welfare state. . . . What makes this rallying cry so disingenuous is the fact that his mother received government assistance while he was growing up, which he acknowledges was crucial. The government gave him free eyeglasses as a child, which improved his grades. In his book, Gifted Hands, he says, “By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps. She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.”

These are the times when all Americans need a champion willing to fight hard to fix the problems that affect people from all walks of life, not deny or ignore them. Ben Carson is not that champion. 

Ouch!  It's a harsh analysis yet true.  Carson is  a dangerous reality denying nutcase.

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