When You Don’t Think Like a Black Man

Let’s imagine that you know a guy who clearly is intelligent and who clearly is a good, thoughtful person when you’re interacting face-to-face…

But he says things that challenge your worldview.

How do you wrap your mind around this man’s great, likable qualities–when his political views are sooooo bad?

Well, if you’re a young liberal, you might start by saying really nice things about him at first…and THEN wrap those compliments inside a disguised insult, because, Lord knows, a black man like Ben Carson must be very confused.

——

A very distant acquaintance wrote this for social media recently:

Ben Carson has been brainwashed by Privileged People

If it’s too small to read, it starts off:

“I owe my life to two black men. One of them is Dr. Ben Carson, who was my pediatric neurosurgeon…

Dr. Carson has an amazing story. He is one of the most gentle, patient people you will ever meet, and he has always treated my family with grace and poise.”

And there you have the compliments I was talking about in the first paragraph. Compliments help establish credibility and niceness. They make readers feel less badly about the “but” that comes later…

Then the writer continues:

[But] It is hard for me as an adult to understand Carson’s stance on political issues…”

Thus, the conflict.

Dr. Carson is a talented and gracious man. He’s accomplished and successful, while being kind and compassionate.

He saved her life.

But that one challenging strike against Dr. Carson remains: he doesn’t agree with her about government and politics. 

“How is standing against affordable healthcare in line with DO NO HARM? How does keeping Gitmo open encourage peace and welfare for all humanity, when we are torturing other humans? How is stating that gay people are a result of prison rape evidence-based? For someone who has overcome an incredible amount of disadvantage and trauma, I see very little self-awareness [in Dr. Carson]…”

Now at this point in the commentary, the author is just questioning… She’s genuinely confused that she doesn’t share the same views about government with a man she assumed would be an ally.

It doesn’t bother me when  a social justice spokesperson wrestles with these questions, because I imagine it would be hard to fathom a smart, black man who doesn’t believe (as all of her peers do) that government money is a great solution for inner-city issues…

But, I DO have a problem if you explain away Dr. Carson’s beliefs, by suggesting he is blinded by the “White Culture” into which he “escaped”: 

“Dr. Carson has some strong opinions about young black males and black-on-black violence. He cites the need for moral education and instilling values. I don’t really know what to say when I see a black hero talk like this to a community so devastated by decades of community and generational oppression and daily microaggressions.

…Dr. C–I know you escaped into (very) upper-class White culture, and I’m afraid that your experience is being exploited by those with more privilege than you…”

In the original Facebook post, that last statement (I put in bold) was pretty well buried by the rest of the paragraph. But it’s the important part of this speech because it’s exactly what black conservatives like Dr. Carson are tired of hearing.

I’m sure he would notice (and appreciate the irony) when white people can’t accept that he really believes what he claims to believe…because he doesn’t sound enough like their other black friends.

Maybe Dr. Carson would even be amused by the way she works through the conflict in her mind.

She reasons he must have been sidetracked by his (very) wealthy neighbors….or…

Maybe he’s being “exploited!”  (Yes, that sounds better, doesn’t it? Let’s assume he means well. But he’s just being overpowered by the truly bad guys.)

In other words, she reasons, Dr. Carson is a victim of oppression, just like all black people.

For liberals, black victimhood is unquestionable. Black people just ARE exploited daily in this country. Period. Thus, the writer concludes (regardless of what Dr. Carson himself says) that he must be the victim of exploitation, too…and he just doesn’t realize it.

And that, dear reader, is how a liberal sleeps at night, knowing a brilliant, articulate, successful black man disagrees with almost every one of her sacred beliefs about social justice. 

It’s perfect, because they still get to feel nice and talk about how thankful they are for Dr. Carson’s practice.

But they still end up discrediting him with the same, narrow stereotypes as those who call Carson an “Uncle Tom” or “Race-Traitor.”  The assumptions are the same: black conservatives have lived in White Land for so long that they don’t represent the black community anymore.

And, I can tell you from personal experience, no one likes being told they don’t act enough like the minority group they represent.

Are you an educated woman who doesn’t identify as a Feminist?

You’re brainwashed.  You’re either a helpless doormat by choice because you like seeing women mistreated, or you’re being exploited so badly you don’t even realize how much of a victim you are.

Are you a brilliant neurosurgeon who believes Obamacare is bad for the country?

You’re being exploited. You either like the wealth and power you’ve found in Whitesville so much that you’re throwing the black community under the bus OR you’re not smart enough to understand how much your political beliefs are hurting the black people whose perspective on race really matters.

It’s no fun having your opinion explained away, just because you don’t sound the way a woman or black man is supposed to sound.

No matter how clearly you explain your views, or how obviously NOT oppressed you are, there are people who will believe theories about “microaggressions” more firmly than they believe their own experience with you as a smart, caring person. 

And those people would rather view Dr. Carson as an “exploited” puppet than to doubt their own beliefs that government can and will solve the issues in the black community.

It’s a shame, because Dr. Carson is a good enough communicator to answer all of those sincere “how” and “why” questions.

If you listen, instead of coming up with reasons to dismiss him, he’ll explain why so-called “affordable healthcare” may have unforeseen consequences:

“Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery….And it is [slavery] in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”

If you’d listen, Dr. Carson would explain why he talks so much about personal responsibility:

“It doesn’t matter if you come from the inner city. People who fail in life are people who find lots of excuses. It’s never too late for a person to recognize that they have potential in themselves.”

I would like people to recognize in looking at my story that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you. It’s not the environment, it’s not the other people who were there trying to help you or trying to stop you. It’s what you decide to do and how much effort you put behind it.”

If you listen, you’ll hear someone deeply concerned for the black community:

“What I feel, instead of people pointing fingers at each other and just creating strife, what we need to be talking about is how do we solve the problem in the black community of murder…For a young black male, in the inner city, homicide is the most likely cause of death. That’s ridiculous.

Most of those occur at the hands of other young black males. We need to be talking about, ‘Why is that occurring?’ We need to be talking about, ‘How do we instill values into people again?’ And those are family and faith.”

I’m not saying you have to agree with every word he says.

But young liberals who like him as a person really need to do a better job trying to understand his position, instead of lazily writing him off as “exploited.”

Because, frankly, that’s insulting.

When the kind, compassionate, successful brain surgeon starts disagreeing with your Strategy for changing the world, a wise person would at least consider that maybe your strategy isn’t that wonderful.  

Maybe it’s not some invisible, scary White Privilege that makes dear, sweet Dr. Carson think all those crazy, not-very-black-man things.

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6 thoughts on “When You Don’t Think Like a Black Man

  1. prototypeatheist

    Ben Carson might be a nice guy. He may be a brilliant neurosurgeon. But he’s also completely off the reservation when it comes to religion and discerning reality, as well as a proven pathological liar.

    -Ben Carson doesn’t accept evolution, he thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old and was created by a Canaanite war god who later used a human avatar to visit some Jews.
    -Ben Carson railed against Planned Parenthood and the used of fetal tissue in research, when he himself conducted studies using fetal tissue in the early 1990s
    -Ben Carson claims that government aid traps people in poverty, even though he was the beneficiary of government aid, which he used to become a successful doctor.
    -Ben Carson claimed that racism didn’t exist before Obama was elected, and that he is experiencing unprecedented scrutiny, seemingly forgetting the whole Obama birth certificate fiasco.
    -Ben Carson thinks the pyramids were used by a character in the Bible to store grain.
    -Ben Carson thinks we should have a economically-disastrous 10% flat tax rate because the Bible says so.
    -Ben Carson thinks gays don’t deserve equal rights because the Bible says god doesn’t like that behavior.
    -Ben Carson couldn’t give a straightforward answer when he was asked if the Bible would ever supersede the Constitution.

    I can go on. But, by all means, just continue playing the race card.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Did you miss the point of my post, or are you intentionally trying to change tracks?

      You can replace Ben Carson with ANY other black conservative: Alfonzo Rachel, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Alveda King, Star Parker… (To borrow a phrase, “I could go on and on.”) At some point it makes sense to listen to WHY these successful people value small government–instead of assuming that only LIBERAL black people have important things to say…

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      1. prototypeatheist

        They can favor conservative economic principles and social ideals all they want, but what do all these people have in common? They’re all CHRISTIANS. That’s right, they all adhere to a white man’s religion which was foisted upon black slaves in America by their white masters. A religion that was used to justify their slavery and the idea that the white man is blessed by God. Many of them, like Elbert Guillory and Allen West, also believe the false narrative that the Democratic Party is the same party that it was 50 or 100 years ago, the same party that started the KKK and defended Jim Crow laws. It’s their ignorance that makes them conservative, no different than most conservatives.

        You cannot separate today’s Republican party from fundamentalist Christianity. It permeates their platform and their politicians. They appeal to their religious beliefs to justify anything from opposing gay rights to abortion to government assistance to taxes, and the list goes on.

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      2. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Wow. You’ve found yet ANOTHER way to tie in your anti-Christian bias?

        This post has nothing to do with religion. Just as our Twitter conversation regarding abortion had nothing to do with God/Atheism/Beliefs until YOU brought it up…

        My point is that Ben Carson (and all other black conservatives) can speak for themselves. They don’t need white liberals, scratching their heads and coming up with conspiracy theories to answer the question, “HOW CAN THEY SUPPORT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, WHEN THAT’S SUCH AN UN-BLACK THING TO DO????” It’s ridiculous for my friend to agree wholeheartedly with whatever opinions her poor, black neighbors have, when they’re “telling their stories” and crying for social justice–but then to assume black conservatives have been brainwashed somehow.

        Whether you’re arguing that black conservatives have been blinded by wealth or by “White Culture” or by a “white man’s religion,” it’s all equally offensive. Black, conservative men and women don’t need liberals to figure them out. They just need them to “listen” with as much enthusiasm and benefit-of-the-doubt as when a black, inner-city, single mom shares HER opinion of what’s wrong with the country…

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      3. prototypeatheist

        I’m anti-CHRISTIANITY, not anti-CHRISTIAN. Note the difference. I have zero problem with Christians based solely on their belief in ancient mythology. I do have a problem with the belief, though.

        This has as much to do with religion as it has to do with race, so you decide just how relevant either one is. It is a fact that black American Christians largely owe their beliefs to having been force-fed Christianity during their enslavement. Even blacks who weren’t descended from slaves frequently had Christianity brought by conquest. Hell, the same is true of many European pagan cultures is you go back even further, but that occurred long before America was being founded and built.

        Yes, Ben Carson and other black conservatives can speak for themselves. And overwhelmingly, when they do, they demonstrate two things:
        1) They believe in ancient myths forced onto their people by their white slave masters and use the tenets and dogma of these religious beliefs to justify their conservative stances on many things, both social issues and economic policies. Ben Carson literally wants to have a 10 percent tax rate because the Bible says so! It’s absurd.
        2) They are ignorant about the history of the political parties. There are still, today, many people, both black and white, who continue to vote Republican because they buy the lie that the parties are the same today as they were 50 or 100 years ago. Yes, Lincoln was a Republican. Yes, Republicans supported freeing the slaves and fought for civil rights. Yes, Democrats founded the KKK. But things have changed dramatically since then. Once the Democrats started supporting civil rights, southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) left the party. Many blacks switched from Republican to Democrat. The south used to be solidly Democratic. Just look at the election results from 1904, for example. Now, the south is solidly Republican. So, unless everybody in America picked up and moved to the opposite side, something fundamentally changed between the parties, no?

        So yes, I do listen to black conservatives, and overwhelmingly, this is what I hear. Is it always the case? No, but frequently. And, even if it isn’t, their opinions still suck anyway. The Republican Party has very little redeeming qualities today.

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