Ben Carson just announced his bid for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2016 … to quite a mixed response. I’m not sure exactly why so many people, especially in the black community, are so singularly unenthusiastic about Dr. Carson. From the beginning of his public career, he has never pretended to be anything other than a conservative Christian. Yet many former supporters say he is tarnishing his once grand reputation with his political stances:
For many young African Americans who grew up seeing Carson as the embodiment of black achievement — a poor inner-city boy who became one of the world’s most accomplished neurosurgeons — his emergence as a conservative hero and unabashed critic of the United States’ first black president has been jarring.
Why has the black community had this reaction to Ben Carson, and to black conservatives? It’s a question I have asked myself many times over the past few years. Is it because black conservatives are pegged as Uncle Toms? Perhaps. But what does that mean?
As best I can tell, an Uncle Tom is a black person who is working, sometimes unwittingly, to support the goals and interests of white men. Since the Republican party is apparently the party of white interests and goals, a black Republican is, nearly by knee jerk definition, an Uncle Tom.
Is there any way around that? Not without a significant revolution in the mindset of most black people. Because what exactly are white interests and goals? Is there really any such thing? The whole idea of an Uncle Tom is predicated on a pseudo-Marxist concept that the white and black races are in a perpetual conflict for dominance and resources.
It’s no surprise that Malcolm X, one of the original champions of black nationalism, was also a Marxist. He applied the Marxist concept of the revolutionary struggle between the bourgeois and the proletariat to the struggle between the black and white races in America. And his basic idea remains. A black person who agrees with “white” people is somehow a traitor to the black cause. Because only one racial interest can hold primacy apparently (and that’s not racist or anything).
We are still suffering from that faulty false dichotomy. And the black community’s reaction to Ben Carson is a case in point. As a successful black man who had overcome adversity, he was marked as a hero to be emulated. His personal story became a microcosm for the possibilities of black supremacy. But Ben Carson doesn’t view things that way. And he is being rejected by his former fans because of it.
Ben Carson believes that his success is based on his work and his achievement, and he believes that any black person with a will can achieve the same success even in the current balance of power. Carson doesn’t believe the problems with this country are a result of white supremacy. He thinks the problems are multi-racial, and the solutions call for individual responsibility. Carson doesn’t want to be viewed as a good black doctor or a good black man. He just wants to be viewed as a good doctor and a good man.
Ben Carson criticizes President Obama because he doesn’t agree with Obama’s policies. It doesn’t matter to Carson that Obama is a black president, really. Carson thinks Obama is a bad president, and that’s all that matters to him. He thinks that’s all that should matter to anyone. That is a sin that cannot be forgiven apparently. In effect, he’s denying the Marxist theory of conflict that has defined race relations in America for decades, but his detractors assume Carson is just a pawn in that very conflict.
As is the case with race relations, and labor relations for that matter, the most important goal is successful cooperation, not victorious conflict. This should not be a competition between white interests and black interests. As you can see in South Africa, it doesn’t matter whether so-called white interests or so-called black interests hold primacy. Abuse is inevitable wherever there is tyranny, whatever color it might be. Because, like multiple races, racial “interests” are imaginary. There is one race: Human. There is only one interest: What is good?