Who is Ben Carson?
He is the guy Cuba Gooding Jr played in Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. And, if you’re a Black person between the age of 16 and 36, he was the subject of at least one book report you did during Black History Month. And it probably happened the year your teacher said “Pick someone other than Martin Luther King and Allen Iverson this year.”
He’s also, apparently, running for president.
Yeah, I heard about that. He’s pretty conservative too, isn’t he?
Yes, he’s a conservative. And not a Michael Steele conservative. But a “That negro ain’t serious, is he?” conservative. A “if this guy gets elected, I’m moving to Guam” conservative.
He’s also attempting to single-handedly refute my favorite idiom.
The one about “it doesn’t take a brain surgeon.” Which basically means, “it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.” I probably used it once a month. But I can’t anymore because Ben Carson is proving that you can actually be a brain surgeon and a nincompoop at the same damn time. Damn you, Ben Carson. Damn you.
So, why is he in the news right now?
He apparently made a joke about police brutality during a speech at the University of New Hampshire.
“Throwing rocks at cars, I really liked that,” he said, describing his childhood. “Sometimes, the police would come, always in unmarked cars. And, they’d be chasing us across the field.”
Carson said he would hop over 10-foot-tall fences, to run away from the police.”Now, that was back in the days before they would shoot you,” he said, laughing. The crowd joined in laughter.
“I’m just kidding!” he said. “You know, they wouldn’t do that.”
He made the comments here at the University of New Hampshire at the beginning of a speech to a ballroom full of white voters, a mix of graying baby boomers and college-age millennials.
What would make him think that was okay? That ending an anecdote about your childhood with an off-hand joke about police brutality in a room full of White people would be a good thing to do?
Well, it could have actually been a good thing if he used it to segue into a conversation about race and the police. Considering that this was an audience that came to see Ben Carson, it wouldn’t be a huge leap to assume that these weren’t the type of people to regularly partake in nuanced discussions about those subjects. He could have talked about the meaning and value of #Blacklivesmatter. Or perhaps shared how being a world renowned brain surgeon and presidential candidate doesn’t make him immune to racial profiling. This could have been Ben Carson’s big race moment.
But, that didn’t happen, right?
Of course not. Apparently one of the Koch brothers or someone got into his earpiece, because he immediately (immediately!) attempted to suppress any awkwardness that joke might have caused.
“In fact, I will use that segue to say I really have a tremendous amount of respect for the police,” he said, “because they put their lives on the line everyday for us.”
So basically, Ben Carson went all Ben Carson?
Exactly. So, excuse me while I go find and burn the book report I did on him in 7th grade