Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a town hall meeting Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Feb. 23 said that President Barack Obama was raised “White” and that it is unlikely that Obama identifies with most Blacks.
“He’s an “African” American. He was, you know, raised White. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of Black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch,” Carson told Politico.
Earlier in the interview Carson, when asked if he experienced a sense of pride when Obama was sworn in as the first Black president, said, “You know, I did not. I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognized that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn’t grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination.”
Carson, who finished sixth out of six in the South Carolina primary and is expected to finish poorly in tonight’s Nevada caucus, grew up poor in Detroit before going to Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School. Obama was born in Hawaii, and spent several of his early years in Indonesia with his mother and step father before returning to Hawaii. Obama graduated from Columbia University and worked as a community organizer in Chicago before going on to Harvard Law School.
Carson is not the only Republican candidate to make the president’s race an issue. On Feb. 19 Donald Trump, who leads in the polls and recently won both the South Carolina primary and the New Hampshire primary, said at a rally captured by the Washington Post, “Now, he’s African American. If I were African American, I wouldn’t like him very much. I will do more for the African American people than Barack Obama has ever done. I will do more in one year. I will do more for the African American people in one year than Barack Obama has done in his seven years, soon to be eight years — and then, by the way, he’s out and thank goodness.”
Carson, for his part, does not say that racism is extinct. Just that he’s only experienced it from progressives and the left. When asked the last time he felt the sting of racism in the interview with Politico he said, “Well, you don’t have to go too far. I think the way that I’m treated, you know, by the left is racism.”
He added, “Yeah. Because they assume because you’re Black, you have to think a certain way. And if you don’t think that way, you’re “Uncle Tom,” you’re worthy of every horrible epithet they can come up with; whereas, if I weren’t Black, then I would just be a Republican.