National Review senior editor and Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg claimed that “one could argue” that Ben Carson is “even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama.”
In his October 30 National Review column, Goldberg invoked the two politicians' family backgrounds to justify his observation that Ben Carson may be “more authentically African-American” than Obama, pointing to the fact that “Obama's mother was white and he was raised in party by his white grandparents,” while Carson “grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hard-working single mother” :
True enough; Carson has the highest favorables of any candidate in the GOP field.
But what's remarkable is that at no point in this conversation [on MSNBC's Morning Joe] did anyone call attention to the fact that Carson is an African-American. Indeed, most analysis of Carson's popularity from pundits focuses on his likable personality and his sincere Christian faith. But it's intriguingly rare to hear people talk about the fact that he's black.
One could argue that he's even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama, given that Obama's mother was white and he was raised in part by his white grandparents. In his autobiography, Obama writes at length about how he grew up outside the traditional African-American experience -- in Hawaii and Indonesia -- and how he consciously chose to adopt a black identity when he was in college.
Meanwhile, Carson grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hard-working single mother. His tale of rising from poverty to become the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories of the last half-century. (Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson in the movie about his life.) He was a towering figure in the black community in Baltimore and nationally -- at least, until he became a Republican politician.
And that probably explains why his race seems to be such a non-issue for the media. The New York Times is even reluctant to refer to him as a doctor. The Federalist reports that Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education, is three times more likely to be referred to as “Dr.” in the Times as brain surgeon Carson. If the Times did that to a black Democrat, charges of racism would be thick in the air.
How strange it must be for people who comfort themselves with the slander that the GOP is a cult of organized racial hatred that the most popular politician among conservatives is a black man. Better to ignore the elephant in the room than account for such an inconvenient fact. The race card is just too valuable politically and psychologically for liberals who need to believe that their political opponents are evil.
Carson's popularity isn't solely derived from his race, but it is a factor.
Goldberg promoted his claim with this October 30 Tweet:
Breaking News: Ben Carson is black. https://t.co/SO0v73QPjR
-- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) October 30, 2015