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It Takes More Than Color

With Ben Carson’s meteoric rise in the polls among Republican voters, Black people may be presented with a real choice. As Rupert Murdock, owner of FOX News, has said, are we seeing the rise of a “real black” presidential contender? Has the legitimacy of Barack Obama as the first Black President been called into question by the good doctor who has embraced a political creed foreign to most African Americans that is often seen as extremist?

This is same person who lived in Detroit in poverty and by his own admission at 14 years old was provoked to the point of considering stabbing a person to death; the same doctor who compared Barack Obama to Hitler; the same good doctor who said that Obamacare was worse than slavery. Am I missing something?

There is no doubt that Ben Carson’s achievements should celebrated. He truly seems to have “gifted hands”. His skill as a neuro-surgeon at John Hopkins University Hospital allowed him to pioneer the operation that allowed him to separate conjoined “Siamese” twins into two independent human beings that thrived. It took great knowledge and nerves of steel to guide him through this arduous and dangerous operation. We are indeed pleased he was so blessed.

But being President is different. It's not one life that is in your hands, it is hundreds of millions. A small mistake in judgment can mean the loss of life of thou

sands. And what about domestic policy? Have we advanced to a color blind society; a society in which the rights of people of color is considered equal to those who have enjoyed privileges for many centuries? What about immigrants, women, the LBGT community, senior citizens, and those with disabilities? Can we turn our backs on them? Are we confident that policies that were meant to be exclusive can be made inclusive by waving a magic wand?

Perhaps Dr. Carson might remember that the violent 14 year old he was had many gifts to share with America. Perhaps he will remember that the chance he had to become “Dr. Carson” was not born with his conversion - it came with his birth. How vain we can become to think the Lord only smiled on us. The same potential he enjoyed is now being denied many “gifted” 14 year olds by mass incarceration, inadequate education, poverty, death, and other inhibitors to them achieving their full potential. This is no joke.

It takes more than color to earn my vote. And I believe that most African Americans feel the same way I do. It matters to me what you believe and how you see others. If you embrace policies that are not helpful; if you are more committed to pleasing than making things fair; if you deny history and are unable to see the obstacles our people have overcome and are still overcoming - you are not worthy of support. I hope the vast majority of voters will see through the fog and cast their vote for the candidate who best advances our interest.

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