The decade's most triggering comedy
Dr. Ben Carson is a paragon of the American dream: raised by a poor single mother who forced him to read books instead of watching television in his spare time, he was able to lift himself from poverty in Detroit and become a renowned neurosurgeon. In response to his four years of service in the Trump administration, community members pressed the city’s school board to scrub his name from the school christened in his honor.
Carson reacted to the decision earlier this week during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
“We’re seeing this wokeness spreading throughout our community to the destruction of our community,” he remarked. “How does it do any good for us to demonize people with whom we disagree and to teach that to our children at a time when the math scores are down, the reading scores are down, academic performance is down?”
Residents began pushing for officials in the Detroit Public Schools Community District to rename the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine soon after the physician was confirmed to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2017. One board member said that residents of the impoverished rust belt city “don’t support” the Trump administration, according to an opinion piece in The Detroit News. Board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo said that she has “received so many requests” from community members about Carson’s name due to the “many of the disparaging remarks he made from the administration that he clings to,” according to a report from Chalkbeat Detroit.
The opposition occurs even though Carson, who is black, had widely been regarded as a model for students seeking to lift themselves from difficult circumstances. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a medical degree from the University of Michigan, later becoming the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University at the age of 33, even though such opportunities were difficult to attain for African Americans at the time. He pioneered the use of hemispherectomies to treat severe pediatric epilepsies and successfully conducted several high-risk operations on conjoined twins.
Last month’s vote to change the name of the high school, which is three-quarters black, reportedly occurred even though the majority of students who responded to a recent poll did not want to change the school’s name. Among multiple students opposing the name change interviewed by Chalkbeat Detroit in September was junior Antavia Ellis: “That’s the whole reason I came to this school, because I want to become a surgeon.”
Dozens of staffers who worked under Carson in the federal government penned an opinion piece published by Fox News likewise condemning the move. “The truth is, Dr. Carson should have dozens of schools named after him,” they wrote. “We firmly believe removing the name of a man like this leaves us all the worse off for it, especially the students this political stunt purports to set an example for. We hope each student aspires to be the type of leader Dr. Carson is: a compassionate and humble man that cares deeply about the future of our children.”
The retired physician, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008, also leads the Carson Scholars Fund, which grants college scholarships to students who demonstrate academic excellence and community service. A devout Seventh-Day Adventist, he often speaks of his faith as a critical factor behind his successes.