Who is Benjamin Carson?
By Luis F. Brizuela Cruz
It was during a time when the American landscape encompassed multiple and acute contrasts between the countless possibilities of many and the struggle to be accepted as “equals” and to be able to achieve of a few, who seemed “different” in the eyes of the general society. Yet, it was also during a time when, as per the founding principles of an imperfect but intrinsically noble young nation, the inalienable right of personal humble aspiration remained the beacon of hope for all, despite race, gender and ethnicity.
During this time it was that Benjamin Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951. The second son of Sonya and Robert Solomon Carson would grow up in the hardened climate of inner-city Detroit and would evolve from a mediocre, hot-tempered student to Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital by age 33. Internationally renowned for breakthrough surgery to separate conjoined twins -faced by futility at times and highly successful at others- the always tenacious Dr. Benjamin Carson may find himself today in front of his biggest challenge ever: the most unique and urgent opportunity to change the destructive course of the nation he so dearly loves. Despite the relentless obstruction of legitimate and productive information and the detrimental socialist propaganda constantly emanating from the left, an increasing number of Americans strongly believe that Dr. Carson can be the Man for the Job; the only one who can reverse the dooming curse brought upon the United States of America by a legion of impostors and several decades of incapacitating liberalism.
The following is the condensed profile of Benjamin Carson. The information gathered here derives from various authenticated and reliable internet sources (e.g. Bio, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube), from interviews of Dr. Carson and from testimonials of those who have come to know the protagonist of a truly remarkable American story of success amid absolute adversity:
Benjamin Carson was eight years old and his older brother Curtis ten when their parents separated and Sonya was left to raise her children on her own. They were very poor and at times Sonya had to take on two or three jobs, mostly as a domestic servant, simply to make ends meet. Carson’s mother was frugal with the family’s finances, cleaning and patching clothes from the Goodwill in order to dress the boys. The family would also go to local farmers and offer to pick corn or other vegetables in exchange for a portion of the yield. She would then can the produce for the kids’ meals. Her actions, and the way she managed the family, proved to be a tremendous influence on Ben and Curtis.
Sonya also taught her boys that anything was possible. By his recollection many years later, Ben Carson had thoughts of a career in medicine, though it was more of a fantasy many young children harbor as they grow up. Because his family was on medical assistance, they would have to wait for hours to be seen by one of the interns at the hospital. Ben would listen to the pulse of the hospital as doctors and nurses went about their routines. Occasionally, there would be an emergency and he could hear in the voices of the people and in their quick movements the pace and emotions rising to meet the challenge. He would hear the PA system call for a “Dr. Jones” and fantasized that one day they would be calling for a “Dr. Carson.”
Both Ben and his brother experienced difficulty in school. Ben fell to the bottom of his class, and became the object of ridicule by his classmates. He developed a violent and uncontrollable temper, and was known to attack other children at the slightest provocation. The poverty he lived in and the difficult times he experienced in school seemed to intensify his anger and rage.
Determined to turn her sons around, Sonya limited their TV time to just a few select programs and refused to let them go outside to play until they had finished their homework. She was criticized for this by her friends, who said her boys would grow up to hate her. But she was determined that her sons would have greater opportunities than she did. She required them to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though with her poor education, she could barely read them. She would take the papers and pretend to carefully review them, scanning over the words and turning the pages, before placing a checkmark at the top of the page to show her approval. At first, Ben resented the strict regimen. While his friends were playing outside, he was stuck in the house, forced to read a book or do his homework. But after several weeks of his mother’s unrelenting position, he began to find enjoyment in reading. Being poor, there wasn’t much opportunity to go anywhere, but between the covers of a book he could go anyplace, be anybody and do anything.
Ben learned how to use his imagination and found it more enjoyable than watching television. This attraction to reading soon led to a strong desire to learn more. Carson read books on all types of subjects and found connections between them. He saw himself as the central character of what he was reading, even if it was a technical book or an encyclopedia. He read about people in laboratories, pouring chemicals into a beaker or flask, or discovering galaxies, or peering into a microscope.
He began to see himself differently; different than the other kids in his neighborhood who only wanted to get out of school, get some nice clothes, and a nice car. He realized that he could become the scientist or physician he had dreamed about. Staying focused on this vision of his future helped him get through some of the more difficult times. Within a year, Ben Carson was amazing his teachers and classmates with his improvement. The children’s’ books he read while he was confined to quarters now had relevancy in school. He was able to recall facts and examples from the books and relate them to what he was learning in school. In 5th grade, Ben astonished everyone by identifying rock samples his teacher had brought to school. As he recalled several years later, he began to assert himself that he wasn’t stupid. Within a year he was at the top of his class, and the hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him. There were uncomfortable and yet vindicating moments for young Ben during those school days. Once, after receiving a certificate of achievement at the semester break, one of the teachers berated the white students for letting a black student get ahead of them academically.
Ben also had several teachers along the way who expressed a strong interest in his success. After he demonstrated his proficient knowledge of rocks in his 5th grade class, his teacher asked Ben to come by the school’s lab after classes ended for the day. There Ben found squirrels to feed and a tarantula to observe. He discovered the wonders of using a microscope to study water specimens, and learned about paramecium and amoebas.
Later, at Southwestern High School in inner-city Detroit, his science teachers recognized his intellectual abilities and mentored him. Other teachers helped him to stay focused when outside influences pulled him off course. After Ben graduated with honors from high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a medical career. But because his mother was not financially well off, Carson had to work through most of his time in college. The automobile industry was facing a downturn in Detroit during the 1970s, making it tough to get a summer job. Yet Carson was determined to achieve his goals. He knocked on doors looking for summer work and usually, through persistence, was able to obtain one. From this work, and a scholarship, he attended Yale University and earned a B.A. degree in psychology.
After graduating from Yale in 1973, Carson enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon rather than a psychologist. In 1975, he married Lacrena “Candy” Rustin whom he met at Yale. Carson earned his medical degree, and the young couple moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he became a resident at Johns Hopkins University in 1977. His excellent eye-hand coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon early on. By 1982, he was chief resident in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
In 1983, Carson received an important invitation. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia, needed a neurosurgeon and invited Carson to take the position. Resistant at first to move so far away from home, he eventually accepted the offer. It proved to be an important one. Australia at the time was without enough doctors with highly sophisticated training in neurosurgery. Carson gained several years’ worth of experience in the year he was in Australia and honed his skills tremendously.
Carson returned to Johns Hopkins in 1984 and, by 1985, he became director of pediatric neurosurgery at the young age of 33. In 1987, Carson attracted international attention by performing a surgery to separate two 7-month-old craniopagus twins from Germany. Patrick and Benjamin Binder were born joined at the head. Their parents contacted Carson, who went to Germany to consult with the boys’ parents and doctors. Because the boys were joined at the back of the head, and because they had separate brains, he felt the operation could be performed successfully.
On September 4, 1987, Carson and a team of 70 doctors, nurses, and support staff joined forces for what would be a 22-hour surgery. Part of the challenge in radical neurosurgery is to prevent severe bleeding and trauma to the patients. In this operation, Carson had applied a technique used in cardiac surgery called hypothermic arrest. The boys’ bodies were cooled down so the blood flowed slower and bleeding was less severe. This allowed the surgeons to perform the delicate task of untangling, dividing and repairing shared blood vessels. Although the twins did have some brain damage, both survived the separation, making Carson’s surgery the first of its kind.
In 1994, Carson and his team went to South Africa to separate the Makwaeba twins. The operation was unsuccessful, as both girls died from complications of the surgery. Carson was devastated, but vowed to press on, as he knew such procedures could be successful. In 1997, Carson and his team went to Zambia in South Central Africa to separate infant boys Luka and Joseph Banda. This operation was especially difficult because the boys were joined at the tops of their heads, making this the first time a surgery of this type had been performed. After a 28-hour operation, both boys survived and neither suffered brain damage.
Over time, Ben Carson’s operations began to gain media attention. At first, what people saw was the soft-spoken hospital spokesperson explaining the complicated procedures in simple terms. But in time, Carson’s own story became public -that of a troubled youth growing up in the inner-city to a poor family eventually finding success. A short time after, Carson started traveling to schools, businesses and hospitals across the country telling his story and imparting his philosophy of life. Out of this dedication to education and helping young people, Carson and his wife Candy founded the Carson Scholars Fund in 1994. The foundation grants scholarships to young students and promotes reading in the younger grades.
In recent television interviews, Dr. Carson has clearly stated that the United States of America is presently facing very serious domestic and global problems, which the current administration and leadership of the nation is failing dismally to properly address. Carson has strongly criticized the “political correctness” of our times and has deemed it one of the biggest impediments of progress. As a black American, who lived through the struggles of a period marked by social injustice, he is quick to clarify that America has gone past the issue of racism, but now confronts cultural dilemmas exacerbated by opportunistic factions on the left of the political spectrum that continue to negate the evolution of the same people they cynically claim to represent. He has been a very harsh critic and opponent of Obamacare, often comparing it to the concept of slavery. He supports his theory by pointing at the historical evidence of communist government-controlled health care as prelude to subsequent total control of the masses.
At a moment when the overwhelming forces proclaiming social and fiscal inequalities have cataclysmically aligned with an indulgent and highly dependent demography in the United States, the prospect of any wealthy white male conservative presidential candidate would continue to suffer automatic condemnation and vilification, ironically, just by the mere fact of their stereotype. Dr. Benjamin Carson, a black conservative and passionate proponent of the restoration of American founding and traditional principles and values, constitutes the best alternative to revert the process of involution set in motion over the last several decades by out of control liberalism and mutated into the abomination afflicting our nation today.
September 9, 2014