Pickaninny Papers Search
Powered by Squarespace

Scrap Papers

A thought, an idea, a flash of inspiration. Potently Pickaninny but small enough to fit on a scrap of paper. Leave a comment. 

 

Entries in black conservatives (1)

Thursday
Apr112013

Gifted Hands Surgeon Won’t Give Republicans the Electoral Treasure They Need 

By Sheryl Wright

Over the past couple of months, Dr. Ben Carson, renowned neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, has been applauded by the right for a series of politically charged speeches echoing familiar conservative talking points on health care, taxes, religion and limited government. The day after Dr. Carson’s speech criticizing President Obama who was sitting just a few feet away from him at the National Prayer Breakfast, conservatives began positioning him as a potential candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016.

AP Photo

Republicans almost reflexively elevate black people that “stand up” to President Obama. Their rush to crown Dr. Carson as their next knight in shining armor reminds me of the Party’s ride on “the Cain Train.” At the time that he jumped to the top of the list of potential Republican nominees, Herman Cain, like Dr. Carson, was relatively unknown politically. In response to criticism of his policy positions, Dr. Carson followed in the footsteps of Mr. Cain by casting himself as “off the plantation” unlike black Democrats. On questions related to gay men and lesbians, Herman Cain labeled homosexuality a sin while Dr. Carson compared support for same-sex marriage to support for pedophilia and bestiality. It’s not surprising that Mr. Cain and Dr. Carson were unable to conceal their disdain for those who don’t share their beliefs—they’re following the lead of a Republican Party that is contemptuous of Democratic-leaning constituencies.

In the wake of his comments on marriage equality, Dr. Carson recognized the damage the controversy was having. Though he underscored his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, he apologized to the John Hopkins community for any embarrassment that he caused the university.

Despite the attention surrounding his less than auspicious debut on the national political scene, Dr. Carson will be best known for his work as a surgeon and philanthropist. Like many others, I first heard of him in 1987 when he performed the first successful surgery separating conjoined twins. I remember his accomplishments as a source of racial pride at the time. His life was a testament to a collective belief in the American Dream. A black child raised in poverty by a single mother in the 1950s, he overcame great personal odds to achieve tremendous professional success.

Dr. Carson has every right to express his political views. Black conservatives—like people of any political stripe—have a right to speak out against President Obama’s policies. Unfortunately, Dr. Carson’s emergence on the political stage represents more of the same; with the exception of immigration reform, he embraces many of the policies that a growing segment of the public disagrees with.

Last month the Republican Party reported on their failure to connect with the changing electorate in the 2012 election. Sadly, they’re too out of touch to realize it will take much more than a new black face to show that they’re not just the party of old white folks.