I remember the equally shocking and embarrassing moment as if it occurred yesterday. While making an all too frequent visit to a local grocery store, I was pleased to see that my cashier was a former student. It is always a good moment when I have an opportunity to catch up with a former student.
This young lady was so impacted by her experience in my class that she shared them with a co-worker, a fellow cashier, whom she invited into our conversation. It was at this moment that a fellow customer passed out at a cash register, causing the young lady whose name I did not know to rush toward the distressed customer. To my shock and horror, after reaching the fallen customer, this young lady pivoted toward me and shouted, “Dr. Jones, please help her.” Apparently, this young lady thought that my title of Dr. meant Medical Doctor, not Doctor of Philosophy. I walked toward the exit and allowed others to assist, as I knew that I would be of no assistance in this matter.
If nothing else, this episode proves that people often extend their expectations regarding the intelligence and knowledge of those possessing collegiate degrees to absurd levels. Little do they know, our expertise is extremely limited. It is this understanding of the limits of American education that makes Ben Carson’s idiotic commentary regarding slavery and immigration unsurprising.
Make no mistake about it, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development publicly displayed what Black America already knew. That being, his ignorance regarding Black America demonstrates his intellectual feebleness in an unkind manner.
Just in case you missed it, Dr. Carson stated the following. “That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.”
On the surface, it appears that the above commentary is nothing more than a continuation of Carson’s tried-and-true minstrel routine designed to gain the approval of a fickle White America. Every fiber of my intellectual being wanted to attribute Carson’s equating of the experience of STOLEN AFRICANS and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere with European immigrants whose arrival to the “New World” will never rival the horrific experience of enslaved Africans to merely being an extension of his despicable pattern of pandering to unsympathetic whites. However, such a perspective grossly misses the shocking reality that Dr. Ben Carson’s most regrettable intellectual blind spot, unfortunately, revolves around the past experiences and present dilemmas of African-Americans.
There is quite simply no better example of the marginalization of the experiences, contributions, and contemporary existence of African-Americans in the American educational system than the appearance of a figure such as Ben Carson.
Consider for a moment that Carson is a brain surgeon trained at top-notch institutions such as Yale University and the University of Michigan who has managed to acquire impressive credentials without learning anything about Black America. Making matters worse is the reality that Carson and those of his ilk are the means that the newly elected President will use to monitor the pulse of Black America. I am certain that you realize that if we must rely upon Uncle Ben Carson for leadership, we are in dire straits.
After all, this is a man who believes that the Irish, Polish, and Italians made their way to colonial America via a slave ship for the opportunity to earn even less than the minimum wage of nothing that our ancestors received during enslavement and sharecropping.
The thought of Carson addressing any racial matter should frighten the entire nation because nothing good could ever come from such an occurrence.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017.