Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said in an interview that President Barack Obama does not identify with black people because he was “raised white.”
As opposed to Obama, born to a white mother and black Kenyan father, who spent several years of his childhood in Indonesia, Carson said he was raised poor in Detroit. He said he understands more the meaning of being an African-American. Carson added that he was largely influenced by his rise from childhood poverty to a successful neurosurgeon.
In the interview with Politico, Carson said: “He (Mr. Obama) didn’t grow up like I grew up. So, for him to claim that he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.” Obama’s inauguration as the country’s first black president didn’t make Carson much happy, the retired neurosurgeon 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 recognize 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 said.
Speaking with MSNBC, Carson did not back down from his comments. “He did not grow up in black America, he grew up in white America,” Carson said, highlighting that he was right in saying what he did. “When the claim is made that he represents the black experience, it’s just not true,” he further said.
Carson’s campaign did not have racial issues as its central focus. He also said that the Republican Party is not racist, underlining the fact that he has not felt or been treated differently as a black candidate. In conversation with Politico, Carson said racism these days is more prominent among liberals than conservatives. “They assume because you’re black, you have to think a certain way,” he said. “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.”
Last autumn, Carson stood at the number two position in the polls, Yahoo News reports. However, with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio picking up speed, Carson’s numbers have been dropping.