Ben Carson’s Ill Informed Conservative Claptrap

Ben CarsonBen Carson, that great truth teller whose truth seems always to say what the power elite want to hear, had a special article for the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech. And what truth does he have to tell? Nothing but the same old conservative line that Martin Luther King Jr would be very very unhappy with the African Americans of today. All that crime and illegitimacy! Tut tut. Check out Ed Kilgore’s take on it.

But I was struck by one particular passage in Carson’s article:

King was a huge advocate of education and would be horrified by the high dropout rates in many inner-city high schools. He, like many others, was vilified, beaten and jailed for trying to open the doors of education to everyone, regardless of their race.

This is something we hear all the time from conservatives. If blacks would just get a decent education, then everything would be fine! The problem with this is that blacks have been getting educated. I discussed this very issue earlier this month, Blacks Getting Educated, Then Forgotten. It is based on a bunch of recent work by Janelle Jones at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. All of the information in her work shows that exactly the opposite has happened. The number of black men with less than a high school degree is way down. Similarly, the number with college degrees has almost tripled from 8% to over 23%. Yet the black community has virtually nothing to show for this—not even an attaboy from conservatives like Carson.

Of course, I’m sure that Carson can wriggle his way out of these facts. After all, he pinpointed “inner-city” high schools and provided the ultimate weasel word: “many.” I’m not qualified to talk about that. But it does seem that this is blaming the victim. After all, Carson isn’t calling for equality of funding for all school kids. Quite the opposite, in fact. So I suspect he brings up this cherry picked “many inner-city high schools” so it appears to be related to the entire African American community (what the white establishment wants to believe) while still allowing him to defend himself against anyone who attacks him with the facts.

The second half of his article is all kinds of claims about what King would think and do if he were alive today. No one really knows, so its a fun game that conservatives especially like to play. I try not to take part myself. I can, however, say one thing that King did believe in while he was still alive: unionization. And one of the main findings of Jones’ work was that the decline in unionization has been a major cause of African Americans seeing little or no gain from their educations. Now it is entirely possible that had King lived he would have turned into a union hating, inequality embracing conservative. But the man who actually did walk this earth certainly would have seen Ben Carson’s claptrap for what it is had it been around in 1963.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Frank Moraes. Bookmark the permalink.

About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *