It is hard to overstate how exquisitely and uniquely Dr. Ben Carson’s comments were placed in the first debate of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election cycle. Carson instructed, “You see, when I take someone to the operating room, I’m actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are. The hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time for us to move beyond that because . . . our strength as a nation comes in our unity.”* These words are profoundly important. They’re also perfectly timed for our nation to hear.
In the wake of the hatred and lawlessness that have been purveyed by the Black Lives Matter movement, Dr. Carson had another quote that highlights the unfortunate product of grievance industry narratives, and answers and corrects the BLM narrative. Carson calls out the BLM activists as “…purveyors of hatred who take every single incident between people of two races and try to make a race war out of it and drive wedges into people.”* From any American of African decent, making this statement is (1) an expression of noble character, and (2) a risky proposition. His statement crushes every foundation of the African American grievance industry. Carson explodes myths perpetrated by many African American leaders and African American studies – that disadvantaged beginnings are an excuse for violence and underachievement.
While somewhat publicized, Dr. Carson’s background is not universally well known. Now, retired from medicine, Carson’s ascent from inner-city poverty to world-renown neurosurgeon is as heartwarming as it is breathtaking. Born into a poor, inner city Detroit family, and fatherless because of divorce when he was just 8-years-old, young Ben was raised largely by his mother. She dropped out of
school at age 13, working 2-3 jobs just to provide for Ben and his brother Curtis. His thefamouspeople.com biography records,
· Under his mother’s guidance Ben began to take studies seriously and soon became a class topper. He graduated from Southwestern High School with honors and went to Yale University where he majored in psychology in 1973.
· Determined to become a physician he went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan. Here he realized his interest in neurosurgery and specialized in this field, receiving his M.D. from the University.**
In 2008, Dr. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. His life-story is inspiring to anyone and everyone of all races, genders, classes, familial backgrounds and just about any other notable demographic. His story also obliterates every argument of the Black Lives Matter movement, and much of what victim-centered academia teaches. His story also inspires anyone who finds strength in his or her Christian faith.
In contrast to Dr. Carson, we have a scattered and decentralized movement of people that have unified around a purpose; to blame everyone else for problems in their own community. The Black Lives Matter movement formed after a young black man in Ferguson, MO was killed in an altercation where a white officer defended himself against what authorities found was an attack by the young man.
Since the Ferguson incident, numerous riots, traffic blockages and police killings have been perpetrated by people inspired by the BLM movement. Parades of protesters chanting slogans in support of killing law enforcement officers have been shown on video in TV news. The heightened rhetoric has had apparent effects inspiring violence.
On Friday, August 28th in Harris County Texas, a white Deputy, Darren Goforth, was allegedly ambushed by a black man with an extensive history of violent crime. Video from the convenience store where the shooting happened shows Shannon Miles sneak up behind and shoot Deputy Goforth 15-times without any apparent provocation. Earlier in the year, New York City police were also inspired by the BLM rhetoric, killing two NYC police officers in an ambush while they sat having lunch. Still, CBS news reports that a spokesperson from the BLM movement insists they are a non-violent movement:
Deray McKesson, a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, told the Houston Chronicle: “It is unfortunate that Sheriff Hickman has chosen to politicize this tragedy and to attribute the officer’s death to a movement that seeks to end violence.”***
Pundits on FoxNews and CNN have stated positions for and against connections of Miles to the BLM movement, and little other motivation can be found for his shooting of a cop. It is obvious that the actions of the Black Lives Matter movement are different than the statements of their leadership. BLM protests in Ferguson
MO and Baltimore MD quickly turned violent, with reports of organizers paid by MoveOn.Org’s George Soros inciting violence against police. Protest supporters in Baltimore were caught on Fox News falsely reporting about violent police contacts. The leftist “mainstream” media outlets have intensively and often falsely reported the BLM protests and police encounters, also heightening tensions between some members of the black community and police.
So how did America get to a place where people of the same race and socio-economic background have such dramatically different outcomes? Carson confesses to two things he had that made all of the difference in his life: God and a dedicated mother, Sonya Carson. The story of how he struggled with anger as a young man, but ran to God for the answer, illustrates the importance of God on his life. There was an occasion detailed in his Bio.com profile where his friend’s belt buckle was the only thing that stopped Ben from stabbing one friend.
“The only thing that prevented a tragic occurrence was the knife blade broke on the friend’s belt buckle. Not knowing the extent of his friend’s injury, Ben ran home and locked himself in the bathroom with a Bible. Terrified by his own actions, he started praying, asking God to help him find a way to deal with his temper. He found salvation in the Book of Proverbs in a passage that went, “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city”.
“Ben began to realize that much of his anger stemmed from putting himself in the center of everything. Anytime anything happened that was not to his liking, he internalized it and made it his problem. Once he took himself out of the equation, he could see that not everything was directed at him and that he wasn’t the only one with troubles.”****
Carson’s strict mother had only a 3rd grade education, but insisted that Ben and his brother would focus intensely on reading and education. Sonya Carson would require the boys to read and turn in book reports on two books per week, and she restricted TV watching to only 2 programs per week.
At first, Ben resented the strict regimen. While his friends were playing outside, he was stuck in the house, forced to read a book or do his homework. But after several weeks of his mother’s unrelenting position, he began to find enjoyment in reading. Being poor, there wasn’t much opportunity to go anywhere. But between the covers of a book he could go anyplace, be anybody and do anything. Ben began to learn how to use his imagination and found it more enjoyable than watching television. This attraction to reading soon led to a strong desire to learn more.****
There appears to be a fairly strait line that can be drawn from looking at Dr. Carson’s outcome. His father estranged from him at age 8, young Ben was raised by a mother who disciplined distractions out and learning into daily life for him. A father may have been a positive role model, but none was part of Carson’s pre-teen and teen-aged life. Also, being raised to have deep and vibrant faith in God played a strong role in having a more selfless and wise outlook at life. Carson credits God for controlling his anger early in life.
The BLM movement is not popular, even in the black community. Juan Williams of Fox News Chanel quoted a statistic on The Five that finds 2/3 of the black community believing that “All Lives Matter” is the correct way to approach the saying. Black Lives Matter denies the importance of everyone else, which is the opposite of Carson’s outlook. BLM supporters blame others, expressing a belief that they are the victims of a society of White Privilege that has taken opportunity away from them and visited violence on them.
Inner-city students are fed a steady diet of victim-hood education, and it is doubtless that the blaming and victim-hood indoctrination has taken its toll, decade after decade. One senior educator from Temple and Rider Universities places blame on five factors:
“Specifically, these factors include: (1) The alienation of Black students from mainstream American society; (2) The mismatch between Black culture and mainstream American culture; (3) The severe shortage of Black role models in their classrooms, (4) The need for future teachers to receive cultural sensitivity training, and (5) the lack of culturally relevant curricula”*****
A hard-working Ben Carson didn’t blame alienation from mainstream society, and the culture he grew up in didn’t stand in his way. With no paternal role model, Carson had God, his mother, teachers and his fascination with books to guide him. Urban Detroit cannot be substantially better for students than any other inner city, so that is no excuse, and curricula that was customized to a special culture for young Ben wasn’t needed. Ben Carson needed God, a dedicated mother, imagination from his enthusiasm for reading, and lessons that God gave him on humility, controlling anger, and how to get outside of himself.
Carson didn’t need to be a victim. He didn’t need the distractions of media, negative role models, or a protest for special rights or set-asides. Dr. Ben Carson just needed what God gave him. Today, Dr. Carson is tied for the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in Iowa. He is the living, breathing evidence that greatness can come from God’s provision, dedication to God, and a dedicated mother.
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
*French, D. (2015, 08 07). Ben Carson’s Gentle, Virtuous Rhetoric Elevated the GOP Debate. Retrieved 08 31, 2015, from National Review: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422237/ben-carson-debate-race-comments
*****Jordan, M. L. (2008). Cultural Conflicts in the Urban Classroom. Teacher Workshops (pp. 1-13). College Station: Texas A & M Worldroom.
****A & E Networks (2015, 08 31). Ben Carson. Retrieved 08 31, 2015, from The Biography.com website: http://www.biography.com/people/ben-carson-475422
***CBS News. (2015, 09 31). Sheriff links “Black Lives Matter” movement to slain deputy. Retrieved 08 31, 2015, from CBSNews.com: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/darren-goforth-killing-sheriff-cites-black-lives-matter-movement/
**TheFamousPeople (2015, 08 31). Ben Carson Biography. Retrieved 08 31, 2015, from TheFamousPeople.com: http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/ben-carson-5393.php