The Ben Carson Show (Still Going)

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a campaign event at the Noah's Event Venue, Saturday, 30 January 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

“There is something fundamentally odd about Carson’s assertion that Obama was raised white, because it contains within it the insinuation that there is only one way to be black or experience blackness. There is only one way to be raised black.”

Janell Ross

Something about themes goes here, but that has to do with something else. Meanwhile, yes, Dr. Ben Carson is still going through at least some of the motions of running for president. That is to say, he has not yet actually suspended his campaign.

Maybe something about a whine cellar goes here. Oh, come on; you know there’s a … not a pun, but, you know, one of those Wheel of Fortune puzzle solutions; three words, two compound words, that sort of thing? Anybody?


Oh, right. Steve Benen reflects on dullness:

I can appreciate why Carson’s odd beliefs don’t warrant much scrutiny anymore. He’s technically still a candidate, but after last-place finishes in South Carolina and Nevada, there is no credible scenario in which the retired neurosurgeon wins the GOP nomination. It’s not a question of whether his campaign will end in failure, but rather, when.

That said, Carson’s “raised white” nonsense deserves a rebuke independent of the status of his candidacy ....

.... For what it’s worth, Carson appeared on CNN late in the day, saying in reference to the president, “I wasn’t criticizing him. Excuse me, but that’s you guys in the news media who are trying to make it into a fight. I’m just stating the obvious facts.”

“Obvious facts” such as the notion that Obama was “raised white”? Please.

The thing about themes is a longer question of a running narrative; for our purposes, we might focus on the inherent objectification and depersonalization of another. That is, caricature is part of politics, but what happens when people start believing their own caricatures? This is a very broad proposition, it seems, and finding its boundaries makes for a long, pedantic, albeit at least potentially enlightening inquiry.

In the political context, the point is pretty straightforward: Ben Carson needs Barack Obama to be some manner of caricature, else the whole façade falls away. Look at the crowd Carson plays to; he needs President Obama to be something alien and exotic and inauthentic.

Janell Ross reviewed the transcript of Carson’s interview with Politico, and while we might not quibble with her excellent analysis, we might also try a short form to demonstrate what manner of nonsense Dr. Carson is pushing:

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.

No, seriously, I’m not saying it explicitly. It’s right there in front of you.


Image note: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a campaign event at the Noah’s Event Venue, Saturday, 30 January 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Benen, Steve. “In one day, Carson gets interrogations, campaigns, and race wrong”. msnbc. 24 February 2016.

Ross, Janell. “Why Ben Carson’s statement that Obama was ‘raised white’ is so utterly confounding”. The Washington Post. 23 February 2016.

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