Skip to main content

Dr. Ben Carson is a supremely talented and gifted surgeon. He is a credit to the medical profession.

He is also a black conservative darling who gave a rousing speech to the Right-wing faithful at the 2014 CPAC event.

These facts exist in tension with one another.

In some basic ways, Carson's role as a black human mascot and cheerleader for the White Right is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath he took as a doctor.

On a basic level, the Hippocratic Oath is a commitment to the truth. By comparison, Ben Carson's role in the Republican Party is based on lies and distortions.

Ben Carson’s fulfilling of the Republican Party’s fantasy that African-Americans are somehow hoodwinked and bamboozled in their decades of support for the Democratic Party is the first lie.

Here, Republicans, movement conservatives, and the White Right have reframed centuries of black citizenship and struggles for freedom into a narrative wherein African-Americans are dumb, stupid, and childlike.

Apparently, African-Americans are not reasoning and sophisticated citizens capable of making their own decisions in the service of collective self-interest. No. They are stuck on a “plantation” and need black conservatives such as Ben Carson and Herman Cain to rescue them.

Ben Carson is a happiness pill. In any other context, this would be an extremely troubling role for a medical professional.

As a happiness pill, Carson is a placebo, a fake drug and a high, a salve for Republicans. His purpose, like that of other black conservatives, is to be human chaff, an ointment, which relieves them from the mountain of evidence and charges that the Republican Party is a racist organization.

Carson is also a poison pill for the Republican Party.

His political vision is a failed one; he is playing the role of a black conservative political snake oil salesman to racially resentful white voters. More troubling, Ben Carson’s blackface version of white conservatism is a de facto embrace of white identity politics

The second poison pill is Ben Carson's claim that "Obamacare" is "the worst thing since slavery". His scare mongering Sarah Palin inspired death panel distortions of healthcare reform threaten to do real harm to the American people.

In fact, people of color in mass, young people, the elderly, as well as the poor and working classes, will all benefit from Obamacare.

A question: Where, and to whom, are Ben Carson's primary commitments as a medical professional?

Ben Carson is a doctor. His obligation to the truth, to do no harm, and the Hippocratic Oath, should demand that Carson not lie about the positive impact of Obama’s healthcare reforms in order to win support among his handlers in the Republican Party. Instead, Ben Carson has chosen the applause of white conservatives over his commitment to public health.

A second question: Is President Obama's expansion of the opportunity to buy health insurance really the worst thing to happen to American freedom since the enslavement of black Americans?

Although he has offered a facile clarification and more doublespeak on this issue, Ben Carson has repeatedly said that the answer is "yes".

What do the facts reveal?

After formal slavery ended, African-Americans suffered under almost 100 years of racial tyranny under a system called Jim and Jane Crow. They were robbed of citizenship and voting rights and subjected to a new type of bondage under debt peonage, convict leasing, and sharecropping laws. Thousands of black men, women, and children were also murdered by spectacular lynchings.

For Ben Carson, Jim and Jane Crow and its horrific racial violence are apparently not as bad as Obama’s healthcare reforms.

Carson is also invoking slavery in order to suggest that expanding healthcare opportunities is a type of “tyranny.”

What does the historical record tell us about white on black chattel slavery?

The enslavement of African-Americans was brutal: it was one of the greatest crimes in human history.

Millions of black people died during the Middle Passage; many millions more were killed by white on black chattel slavery across the Black Atlantic.

In all, white supremacy and racism were a total social system that involved religion, philosophy, science, economics, law, and ethics as it worked to legitimate a social hierarchy that judged "white" people superior to "non-whites".

White supremacy as a social and political system was prefaced on the dehumanization of people of color. Its logic extended to the medical and biological sciences.

"Medical Apartheid" was one of the systems of power that was born from centuries of white supremacy in America. Like slavery, it was cruel and inhumane.

For example, African-Americans were treated without anesthesia. Old, infirm, or "physically unusual" slaves were also sold to medical schools and private doctors for experimentation and study.

In addition, medical schools in the South tried to win students from the North and elsewhere with their promise of access to cadavers and other "subjects", i.e. black Americans, for examination and study.

How were these “subjects” treated?

Black women had their reproductive organs removed or otherwise manipulated by white doctors without the use of pain medication.

The backs of black human property would be cut open so that spinal cords could have boiling water poured on them to experiment with treatments for pneumonia.

African-Americans would be subjected to forced heat stroke in order to see if they could be cured of that affliction. One survivor recounted his experiences as:

...Ordered a hole to be dug in the ground, three feet and a half deep by three feet long, and two feet and a half wide. Into this pit a quantity of dried oak bark was cast, and fire set to it. It was allowed to burn until the pit became heated like an oven, when the embers were taken out. A plank was then put across the bottom of the pit, and on that a stool. Having tested, with a thermometer, the degree to which the pit was heated, the Doctor bade me strip, and get in; which I did, only my head being above the ground. He then gave me some medicine which he had prepared, and as soon as I was on the stool, a number of wet blankets were fastened over the hole, and scantlings laid across them. This was to keep in the heat. It soon began to tell upon me; but though I tried hard to keep up against its effects, in about half an hour I fainted. I was then lifted out and revived, the Doctor taking a note of the degree of heat when I left the pit.

Vivisection by "night doctors" remains alive in the lived memory and oral traditions of African-Americans, where stories have been passed down about the torture and experimentation conducted on black slaves (and others) by white doctors.

The legacies of Medical Apartheid remain today with racially disparate healthcare outcomes and quality of care across the colorline.

Carson's political blackface routine is even more tragic as it involves an African-American betraying his commitment to truth-telling in order to advance the interests of a political party and movement that has neither love nor respect for people of color.

Ben Carson's suggestion that an effort to extend access to healthcare is in any way remotely akin to the enslavement, rape, murder, stolen labor, exploitation, abuse, and cruelty suffered by millions of African-Americans is a scurrilous and abominable lie.

It flattens history.

Moreover, Ben Carson is disrespecting the legacy of his ancestors by legitimating one of the American Right-wing's most popular lies, that African-American slavery "wasn't really that bad".

For all of his medical expertise and genius, Ben Carson is an example of the potent power of Right-wing political excreta to work in a human centipede-like fashion, as disinformation is recycled back and forth among those who live in the closed loop that is the Right-wing echo chamber.

Ben Carson is also a black conservative. There are few more lucrative jobs in American public life. And it is an especially good job if one can secure it...even if said job involves betraying one's professional ethics while eagerly consuming and regurgitating the Republican Party’s political waste at an open trough such as the annual CPAC meeting.

Originally posted to chaunceydevega on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I used to respect Dr. Carson (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, dagnome, lzmd, JoanMar, avamontez

    But, sadly, he threw that respect away.

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:07:22 AM PDT

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (5+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:14:20 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, chaunceydevega... (5+ / 0-)

    Your diary is a very powerful statement concerning race and politics as they stand today.
    Truly moving to read.
    Thanks again.

    All sane people detest noise. Mark Twain

    by Man Oh Man on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:29:50 AM PDT

  •  CPAC need Black Members (0+ / 0-)

    Last Year I invited myself to CPAC under the premise Black folks need to be where our interests are in play and at risk..

    CD's tired rant about Dr.Carson is old news and advances nothing.... I was hoping to get an invite to CPAC this year and offer a presentation on how to recruit Black Americans to CPAC, clearly they did not have an interest in my presentation.

    That is not good news....

  •  Ben Carson is a surgeon. (6+ / 0-)

    Last time I checked, all that means is that he understand the mechanics of how the human body functions and how to repair it.  Because the stakes are so high, surgeons focus on specific areas.  His is the nervous system.  He understand how the nervous system functions, however, that does not make him a "brain expert."

    I would not ask him to staff the suicide hotline or a mental health crisis center, for example.   I would not see him in lieu of a psychologist or a psychiatrist, either.

    In fact, I find his observations of human nature to be quite primitive.  How one gets out of poverty, for example.  What makes him an expert?  His own experience?  That's not a scientifically significant sample and he knows it.

    How about his feelings about gay people?  Equating homosexuality with what evidence?  People aren't animals.  The comparison doesn't even make sense.

    So at CPAC he declares, "Gay people do not get extra rights."  Ok.  A friend of mine is intersex: neither male nor female...actually both.  If the law says my friend has to choose one or the other, is the law effective in my friend's case?  Does my friend need "extra rights?"  Because I think this may be a case where "extra rights" are needed.

    Dr. Carson "hates being politically correct" and that's a problem.  Because, you see, the Greek root of "politics" is "people."  If we don't strive to be correct about how we speak of people, for what do we strive?  I don't care how many conjoined twins you may have separated, why should I trust you with my health care choices if you "hate being politically correct?"

    My husband went to an orthopedic surgeon to see about his back pain.  "All I can do is open you up and try to fix you, but that doesn't guarantee your pain will go away," he said.  He referred him to a Pilates instructor.

    THAT is a brilliant, open-minded, intelligent surgeon.  That is someone who recognizes the limitations of their practice.  He doesn't walk in the room, introduce himself as one of the top surgeons in the city and demand your full respect.

    Conversely, my personal physician was harping about "Obamacare" last time I saw her.  After some pointed questions, I came to realize that she was legitimately concerned about the shortage of doctors and the rising costs of medical care that the ACA would trigger.  I explained that the ACA had built into it mechanisms for rooting out fraud and abuse.  Turns out, she really hadn't read the actual law, but some right wing analysis of it.  

    I'm afraid that Dr. Carson is the victim of his own ego, which needs to be constantly fed.  Since the world doesn't deliver conjoined twins to him everyday, he's now found a new circus where he can be ringmaster to throngs of adoring people.  Grateful people to whom he gives legitimacy.

    For the rest of us, I think at every turn we should demand that physicians, surgeons and scientists in general should approach politics with the same level of excellence and rigor they approach their profession.  Don't just take their word for it.

  •  Ben Carson... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, avamontez, Calamity Jean

    ...a more-educated Alan Keyes.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:12:18 AM PDT

  •  You're the true surgeon (0+ / 0-)

    The way you dissect and examine the facts is always a marvel to me. Thank you.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 01:39:17 PM PDT

  •  GOP: two election cycles too late /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 02:04:22 PM PDT

  •  Palinesque Imbecility (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Benjamin Carson is an excellent and eminent surgeon, but he is quite limited, other ways.

    I think he is warped by a gargantuan jealous ego, jealous in this case of the Obamas. He does not believe that Obama is a "real" African-American, and someone, perhaps himself is more deserving of being the first black president.

    That raging green-eyed demon of jealousy is what is causing him utter embarrassingly palinesque statements with alarming frequency.

    •  I have known many excellent doctors and (0+ / 0-)

      surgeons who were absolute wingnuts, including one orthopedic surgeon who once started to repair the wrong ankle (back in the 80's) because he was so absorbed with his John Bircher rant.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Rick Perry doesn't think there should be a minimum wage
      and Ted Nugent doesn't think there should be a minimum age. Merica
      ---> @LOLGOP

      by smileycreek on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 12:52:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site