Slavery Is Hope

Dr. Ben Carson, the first seriously viable black presidential candidate since Barack Obama, is obsessed with slavery.

Dr. Ben Carson, the first seriously viable black presidential candidate since Barack Obama, is obsessed with slavery.

Like most black Americans, Carson is trying to figure out how the S-word fits into his narrative, and in so doing he is force-feeding it to folks who’ve probably never considered slavery as part and parcel of what could still be wrong with America.

But, only as Carson could, he is doing all this ass-backward, yet he is being rewarded for his efforts.

In 2013, according to CBS News, Carson said, in his creepy, whisper-speak, that ObamaCare was “the worst thing” since slavery.

On Oct. 25, Carson told an NBC journalist that “allowing” a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy was, also, like slavery and that women in search of abortions were no better than slaveholders.

“I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it,” Carson said. “During slavery, a lot of slave owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose. And what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but you guys do whatever you want.’ Where would we be?”

“We” would probably be a lot less confused by you, Dr. Carson, than we are presently. And this goes for all the white women swooning over you while they’re lined up to get copies of your book signed; all the fringe Republicans test-driving you like you’re an electric car because they’ve heard the echoes of complaints that the GOP is for wealthy, white men and no one else; and this especially goes for all the folks absolutely frightened and turned off by Donald Trump and his not-even-thinly-veiled rhetoric.

They are not pushing back on you, Carson, and I do not get it at all; however, neither will I take the other route and begin or pretend to “explain” your over-use of the slavery metaphor to the uninitiated.

By and large, it’s white people who want you, so it’s white people who need to do that work to reconcile your wacky, seemingly conservative tropes so that you will continually have something to whisper back about your “politically correct” critics.

Whether this is Carson’s intentional strategy or he is falling into this face-first, it seems to be working in his favor in some polls.

According to a New York Times/CBS News survey just released Tuesday, Carson is favored by 26 percent of Republican primary voters, and Donald Trump would get 22 percent of that vote. It is the first time since late July that Trump has not led all Republican candidates, according to the Times.

So now Trump will snipe and swipe at Carson, as he always does when he feels threatened by another candidate. Meantime, Carson will continue being that “other” kind of black guy, the one who is without swag, bombast, discernable charm, a toolbox of oratory gifts and a particularly exotic blackground.

In other words, Carson will continue on as the anti-Barack, a character no one around him (who is around him, anyway?) and especially not Carson himself has ever said or ever will say he has created.

But this is what Carson is all about: showing America there is more than the Obama way to “be” — act like, portray, perform and even act out — a black man. But if America did not already know this, then we are in worse shape than even I thought.

The same way Obama counted on “hope” as not only a buzzword but as an action verb that would catch fire and burn itself into the collective consciousness of people disenfranchised by racial, economic and class fatigue, Carson is betting all his chips on the fact that he can land on a concept that, in its discomforting familiarity, will galvanize and even radicalize a large enough Republican faction who will, in all their self-congratulatory revelry, be able to say once and for all “Fill-in-the-blank is as evil as slavery! There! We’ve said it!”

We are talking about people now who have never in their lives considered slavery.

Period.

And they certainly have never had to perform Pilates on their intellects to reach and make analogies of slavery and abortion or slavery and national health care.

So, then, slavery is Ben Carson’s hope.

And I hope some journalist somewhere with absolutely nothing to lose will pin him down on the audacity of his counterintuitive train wreck. I hope someone will ask him to speak up and explain further and more clearly what he means by comparing women in search of abortions to slaveholders. Does this mean these women are rapists, destroyers of families, annihilators of humanity, capitalist raiders and inhumane animals?

Not one mainstream news outlet — including the one originally airing the clip — even tried to untangle Carson’s quote. Hell, they didn’t even register confusion, surprise or disgust, and this is largely why candidates of color (especially) get away with rhetorical murder.

The same PC police Carson attacks after he says something ridiculous are the same PC police who let him slide in the first place.

This is a real mess, a real mind screw.

Let’s not forget Carson is a retired neurosurgeon; the man is smart. But doctors, by nature, are arrogant, perfunctory people. I get the feeling Carson slyly thinks he is pulling one over on us with his earnestness and his “this is my first time at the dance so I don’t know what the rules are” shtick.

Ask Sarah Palin about being mavericky, Carson. It neither lasts nor works.Let’s all relax our notions of a slavery-obsessed president for a moment, long enough to picture Carson in a debate with Hillary Clinton.Would she pull his card?Hell, yes, she would. But not on race. On women and reproductive rights, because that’s her role to play. She would feel out of sorts calling a black man on his black-man bullshit on national television. I’m not sure the sistahs supporting her would go for that, anyway.The sight and sound of Ben Carson is a strange one to me.He is unsettling.

And I don’t know if it’s because we’ve spent the past seven years trying to get our black-identified president to really be black and get pissed off about American racism, or if it’s because of our black-identified president that war has been openly/secretly declared on black men in America by cops, mass murderers and prison systems.

Either way, Ben Carson is not the next black man to lead us anywhere. He’s no Harriet Tubman.

CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: [email protected]


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