Dr. Ben Carson - What is Racism?
As most of the well-read and informed readers of this blog know, Dr. Ben Carson is a recently retired brain surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. He became well known to the general public when he made a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year. President Obama was in attendance and Dr. Carson's remarks were interpreted by some as a political move rather than an expression of his own heartfelt opinions on many matters.
I am a skeptical person so I think that many things are not what they first appear to be. However I think that it's possible that Dr. Carson meant every word he said without even considering the personal political advantage he might get from uttering them at that event. But even if the remarks were - as some believe - politically calculated, I still think he meant them. To me he seems to be an ultra smart and truly caring person when it comes to the problems the country faces. You can see the speech here if you missed it. We featured it in an earlier post.
What happened next was a matter of some dismay to me. Within hours people started saying things like, "Ben Carson for President!" I think it's sad that we reflexively make such comments whenever we come across a new personality who agrees with our philosophy. Sometimes it's done just because someone eloquently rebuts our political rivals. There are too many other things to consider when choosing a leader.
It's possible that Dr. Carson has aspirations and it's possible that he would make a fine President. But politics is a crazy business. At this point we have no idea if he is competent in all the other areas that matter.
So let's just take a deep breath and learn something about the man before we begin some fantasy of a new political savior for our deeply troubled society. Saviors of that type do not exist in reality. It will take all of us to change our country into the type of society that fulfills the potential the founders gave us. Many of us will have to change our minds about the role that government should play in a free society if we are to make those changes.
The video below is a short interview with the doctor by a reporter who is obviously trying to corner him into saying something controversial. It features an interesting exchange about preferences and racism in general.
To my mind, Dr. Carson gives one of the best definitions of racism I have heard. It is also a reflection of my views on the subject.
So maybe we can learn something more about him on our way to evaluating whether he is a realistic future candidate or just someone we admire for his personal traits and his intellect. We must keep in mind that according to Carson's definition, if we supported him because he is black, we would be racists.
If he did get to the White House, I think he would do better than most who have gotten there. After all, this isn't brain surgery.