“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less, he said. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land,”
Dr. Ben Carson
Today the world awakes, and once again African-Americans are foaming at the mouth because of words that fell from the face of one of our so-called representatives, secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. By “our” I, of course, mean Black people. But whether they came from the mouth of someone who is black or white, these words are indicative of an overall ignorance that has permeated American politics.
From an etymological view, you can not say the word ignorance without ignore. In this case, it looks very much like Ben Carson is ignoring the facts. It’s beyond sad and evades explanation how a Black man who grew up in Detroit and Boston, one of which is the blackest big city in America while the other is largely composed of a population descended from actual Irish immigrants, does not know why most Americans of African descent are not immigrants.
Of course, the very first phrase that came to my mind when reading of this calamity was “house negro”. Indeed, Ben Carson has been called all kinds of house negroes in the digital-sphere that contains social media, work emails and black message boards that are a dot com or org away. For the uninformed, reader out there, the term house negro is a team that describes the caste system of antebellum plantations of the American south.
The darker slaves generally were the ones who lived in the fields, worked themselves until blood oozed from their feet and hands, their children fed in troughs like farm animals, their clothing was tattered rags. Conversely, the lighter slaves were allowed to live in the master’s house, either in the basement or upstairs in the attic. He loved his master, while the field negro hated his master. Malcolm X’s described this system of control over 50 years ago. It is perhaps among the most popular of his oratories.
However, I read a post by a Facebook friend and Madam Noire writer Charing Ball, that got me really thinking. While the Ben Carson memes proliferated social media and cable news networks, she represented a kernel of sanity.
After a good chuckle or two, her faux ambiguity points to another phenomenon: one that sees a Black populous so desperate and starving for leadership that we place the mantle of greatness on just about anyone. Of course there are those who will say that it is the white supremacist power structure that allows Blacks who speak against the best interests of their constituents to benefit, much in the same manner that house negroes were also overseers of field negroes on some plantations.
Both were enslaved, but the house negro lived a little better, thus, he felt like he had it made. In the case of Dr. Carson, we see that paradigm play out. However, it is Black folks who elevated him to an undeserving tier because of his exceptional talents as a neurosurgeon. As was noted by Charing, every Black History Month we see at least one or two mentions of Dr. Ben Carson. His “up by your bootstraps” narrative was constantly brought up, by both liberals and conservatives, before he entered politics.
It was Black people who cheered him with the most fervor, way back before it was realized he’s actually something of a numbskull. Also, Carson has either written or been the subject of at least six books, including two children’s books.
Back in 2013, there was a Gallup poll and, of course, President Barack Obama was the most admired man in the country. He got 16 percent of the votes for Most Admired Man in America.
Conservative commentator and ambiguous demagogue Bill O’Reilly got 1 percent, which tied him with Dr. Carson. Despite sharing similar political views as O’Reilly, I’d bet ten bucks that most who voted for him in this poll were Black. So yes, Ben Carson is a faux-negro, an opportunistic negro, but not a house negro. To call him a house negro is polite.
It suggests that Carson is somehow helpless and trapped within a paradigm that he has no choice but to participate in. However, Carson has chosen to be a patsy, a stooge and, ultimately, an impudent dumb ass. Just because one is a neurosurgeon, even a wildly successful one, doesn’t make them a scholar and it damn sure don’t make ’em smart.
How can a man who grew up in such conditions as he be so widely disconnected from the Black experience or even widely know, well documented history? I don’t believe one can “disconnect” from their past in the manner that Carson has and be ambiguous about it. So, if he’s not a house negro then he is a willing drone for a racist administration, which means he’s despicable and was unworthy of our adulation the entire time.
He is a dangerous contradiction; a neurosurgeon who is actually stupid and a black man who actually isn’t.