Ben Carson continues to leave my jaw agape on a regular basis at the mind-numbingly stupid things he says. Responding to the protests and rioting in Baltimore (which are two different things, by the way), he made this staggeringly inane analogy:
“I recognize that people are angry because they feel that they’re not getting a full explanation of what occurred under suspicious circumstances, but I can speak from experience that reacting out of anger seldom leads to anything helpful,” Carson said. “And these kinds of reactions will only increase the antagonism between police and communities throughout the country and result in militarization and more aggression.”
Later, he used an analogy regarding plumbers to criticize the actions of those who have turned to violence. “If you have an unpleasant experience with a plumber, do you go out and declare a war on all plumbers?” he asked. “Or teachers or doctors? Of course not. And it makes no sense to do that with police either.”
I would bet that if plumbers, doctors or teachers were in the habit of killing young black men in large numbers, there would be a similar reaction. This isn’t about having an “unpleasant experience,” it’s about the pervasive institutional racism in law enforcement that results in blacks being arrested, charged, imprisoned and — yes — killed by the police in numbers that far exceed the population. Blacks use and sell drugs at almost exactly the same rate as whites, yet they’re five or six times more likely to be arrested, charged and put in prison for it.
Blacks are 15% or so of the drivers on the road, but routinely more than 70% of those who are stopped, searched and arrested — despite the fact that whites are significantly more likely to be caught doing something illegal when stopped. Michelle Alexander is right, our criminal justice system has reestablished the Jim Crow system right under our noses and no one seems to notice or care. So yeah, there’s good reason to be angry here. There is real racism here. And people are getting fed up with it. Except Ben Carson. He hides being idiotic analogies to bury his head in the sand.