Ben Carson in 1999: Whites Have ‘No Grasp’ on America’s ‘History of Racial Violence’


Ben CarsonWhen writing about the racial disparities in the American criminal system back in 1999, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson sounded much different than he sounds today.

“Black Americans… find it almost impossible to think about ‘fairness’ or ‘justice’ in anything but racial terms — because of our nation’s historical record of unfairness and injustice to our race,” Carson wrote in his 1999 book The Big Picture. “… [N]o matter how often we are told we need to ‘get over’ the past, white people need to understand these things are not easy for us to forget.”

In an excerpt flagged by Buzzfeed, Carson wrote that white America has “no grasp on the history of racial violence in this country… Between 1885 and 1900, at least 2,500 blacks were lynched or murdered as the KKK consolidated its hold on the post-Reconstruction South. In 1741, 14 slaves were burned at the stake and 18 others were hanged because of fears of a slave revolt— in New York City.”

“I remember in Boston when I was a child, my older cousins, sons of the aunt and uncle who took our family in, were arrested and thrown into jail for some minor infraction of the law,” he said. “When one of my cousins protested that abuse, he was beaten so severely by the police that he almost died. I vividly remember seeing the results of that beating.”

It’s a starkly different tone than Carson’s current conciliatory rhetoric. While the famed neurosurgeon has always spoken about the need to address racism, he has been a staunch critic of #BlackLivesMatter, slamming “those who want to divide us into all these special interest groups”

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