Dr. Ben Carson: Healing the Race and Abortion Divide ‘Is Going to Require Leadership’
In the United States, February marks Black History Month — a profound celebration of the significant contributions that black Americans have made to our country and an opportunity to pay tribute to their perseverance throughout history. Coinciding with Black History Month, I recently had the honor of interviewing one of the most accomplished leaders in American politics today: Dr. Ben Carson.
Beginning his astonishing career as a world-renowned neurosurgeon who famously became the first ever to successfully separate twins conjoined at the back of the head, Dr. Carson also went on to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump administration. Today, he leads the American Cornerstone Institute — a conservative policy organization that educates and conducts outreach to advance the values of faith, liberty, community, and life.
I began my conversation with Dr. Carson eager to learn more about his background as a pro-lifer. He told me, “Well, you know, I never actually thought that [abortion] was all right, even though I grew up in very liberal environments: Detroit, Boston, New Haven, Ann Arbor, Baltimore. But I still believed that you didn’t have the right to tell someone else what they should do and what they should believe.”
“That all changed one day as a young attending neurosurgeon. I was thinking about the whole concept of slavery and how they didn’t see slaves as actual individuals and human beings. And I thought, how similar is that to the way some people look at that precious life that is in the mother’s womb? And I thought about the abolitionist — what if the abolitionist had said, ‘Well, I don’t believe in slavery myself, but I don’t have any right to say what you should think,’” Dr. Carson went on to explain. “Where would we be as a society? Right now, we do have responsibilities.”
Dr. Carson and I also discussed a common myth that the abortion industry perpetuates: the idea that black women disproportionately need abortion in order to thrive in America. “It’s really very asinine to even make a statement like that,” Dr. Carson remarked. “What is happening is they are trying to dumb people down so that they don’t think for themselves and so that they actually believe that these individuals who are telling them such nonsense have their best interest in mind. They clearly do not have their best interest in mind.”
In our conversation, Dr. Carson continued to unravel the lies that the abortion industry teaches regarding black mothers. “You know, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist and she felt that people who were deformed, people who were mentally ill, and particularly black people, should be eliminated,” he pointed out. “And that’s why the vast majority of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods. When you look at this nation, close to 40% of abortions are done on black women. And yet blacks only compose 12% of the population. So, it’s very disproportionate.”
Dr. Carson added, “And I hope at some point that many in the black community will awaken and recognize that these people who purport to be your friends are actually the very ones who are trying to get rid of you.”
During our interview, Dr. Carson and I also discussed the significance of such sensitive topics as race and abortion to begin restoring common ground and rebuilding stability in modern American political thought. I asked him, “From your perspective, what does the path to healing the divide on both abortion and race look like?” Dr. Carson replied, “Well, it’s going to require leadership. That’s what we don’t have. We have people in leadership positions who say we need unity and then the next thing out of their mouth is, but those people are so evil or they’re so bad.” He continued, “But the real answer lies with the people, because each of us has a sphere of influence.”
It is immensely advantageous to the conservative movement to have a medical expert such as Dr. Carson among our ranks; in a helpful rabbit trail, he explained to me that one of the most significant differences between an animal brain and a human brain is structure. Animals have large midbrains, which impact their ability to react with quick reflexes. What humans lack in midbrain, we make up for in sophisticated frontal lobes, which allow us to engage in rational thought.
“That’s why, when we look at someone, we don’t have to react like an animal on the basis of their external physical characteristics,” Dr. Carson told me. “We can use that incredible brain to analyze the content of their character. And that’s what Dr. King was talking about when he said he longed for the day when people would be judged not on the color of their skin, but the content of their character. God gave us a sophisticated intellectual mechanism to be able to do that.”
Joy Stockbauer is a correspondent for The Washington Stand.