Former NBA superstar and now renowned political columnist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently published an op-ed in TIME titled “Ben Carson Is Terrible for Black Americans,” where he slammed the new Republican front-runner, neurosurgeon and religious zealot for the damage that his presidency would do for the struggle for black Americans to achieve true equality in American society. While he praised Carson’s success as a surgeon, he brutally takes him to task for his utter rejection of scientific fact and his dogmatic adherence to archaic religious mores that perpetuates harmful stereotypes against black Americans:
His repressive, muddled and pious policies and opinions often run against our Constitution—but his questionable proposals will likely, thankfully, be doomed by his lack of political expertise. His presidency would be marked by even worse gridlock while he wastes his time trying to impose his narrow and sometimes ill-informed morality on the other 319 million people in the nation. And it would definitely not be good for African-Americans to have a president who flounders helplessly in office because it would perpetuate the stereotype that blacks can’t be effective CEOs, quarterbacks and leaders.
For a physician to ignore the preponderance of scientific proof in favor of his own religious beliefs is dangerous because is it justifies enacting laws that restrict human and civil rights. Carson has since apologized, but we should never forget that pseudo-science was used to prove blacks were physically and mentally inferior to whites and to justify slavery.
Again, when an elected leader ignores testimony from 97% of the world’s experts, renowned physicists and the CDC, we have to question his decision-making abilities. Carson perpetuates the black stereotype of someone who’s too confused or frightened by all that complicated science so he or she ignores it, clinging to superstitions or religion. Obviously, white politicians have been making the same buffoonish claims, but they aren’t representative of a minority struggling to achieve equality.
Carson’s rejection of the ObamaCare legislation to his utter rejection of climate science, his antiquated and offensive statements about LGBT Americans, his dismissal of the Big Bang Theory, his decision to blame a measles outbreak on immigrants, and his refusal to acknowledge the institutional racism which keeps millions of African-Americans in poverty are damning indictments of a man who is ostensibly seeking the presidency. Abdul-Jabbar hit the nail right on the head in his evisceration of Carson and his blatant pandering to the GOP’s defiantly racist and proudly ignorant voting base.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.