When it comes to presidential campaigns, anything is fair game, including speculating on one’s cultural background. Ben Carson, a candidate currently tied for fourth in the GOP candidacy race, is said to have been one of most gifted neurosurgeons in the country.
He’s also a black American, born of and raised by two black parents from Detroit. That fact, he says, is a pivotal point. President Barack Obama has been called “the first black president of the U.S.,” but, in fact, he is bi-racial, his mother being a white American and his father being a Kenyan native. Although his U.S. citizenship has been highly scrutinized, nothing has ever been found to prove anything other than he is a U.S. citizen born in Hawaii.
But, according to Ben Carson, it’s not important what color Obama’s skin is, because he was raised in a white world, according to CNN.
“He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch. Like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn’t grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination. Not even close.”
Carson, who feels his upbringing and experience as a black American has been far different than Obama’s, says he does not believe that the rampant criticism of Obama has anything to do with the fact that Obama is biracial — it is a result of his poor policies and an ineffective presidency.
“You have to recognize that what President Obama represents is an ideology that is antithetical to the ideology of most people in the Republican Party. And I don’t think it has anything to do with race. I mean, Hillary (Clinton) represents that kind of ideology also, and they’ll say it’s because she’s a woman. I mean, any guy who represents that kind of ideology is going to evoke exactly the same types of criticism. I think the way that I’m treated, you know, by the left is racism. Because they assume because you’re black, you have to think a certain way. And if you don’t think that way, you’re ‘Uncle Tom,’ you’re worthy of every horrible epithet they can come up with; whereas, if I weren’t black, then I would just be a Republican.”
Speaking on racism, Carson said he has not encountered any from the Republican Party or its candidates, although he admits the GOP has some stereotypes and history in racism. It does not ring true for him, Carson said.
“I don’t find any particular problem being an African-American in the Republican Party. The people‑‑I know that in the progressive side of things, they like to say that the Republicans are racist. I know that. I haven’t experienced that.”
Pundits have been quick to denounce the words of Carson as being divisive and showing that he is a risk as a presidential candidate because he is essentially engaging in a game of “Who is the most black” while saying that ethnicity should not matter. However, Carson is not alone in some of his musings about Obama. Many feel that he did not grow up in a “typical fashion,” either white or black, thus giving rise to the rumors and allegations regarding his citizenship and religious values, among other things.
[Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images]