Saturday 17 March 2018

Obama was raised white, says GOP hopeful Carson

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Photo: Steve Marcus / Reuters /Las Vegas Sun
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Photo: Steve Marcus / Reuters /Las Vegas Sun

Jesse J Holland

Ben Carson is trying to reinvigorate his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination by becoming the latest person to question US President Barack Obama's blackness ahead of critical upcoming votes.

Mr Carson, the only black candidate among the Republicans and Democrats, said in a series of recent interviews that Mr Obama was "raised white" and doesn't represent the "black experience" in the United States.

"He didn't grow up like I grew up," Mr Carson said on MSNBC. "Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch."

He claimed that the president was "raised white."

Mr Carson's comments helped him break through the cacophony of speeches and interviews by front-runner Donald Trump and rivals Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich. Mr Carson came in near the bottom in last week's Republican primary in South Carolina and faces a struggle in the Super Tuesday primaries March 1.

Mr Carson is "lashing out. His campaign is on its last leg," said Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor of public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. "His comments are not geared toward black audiences; they're geared toward white conservatives."

Mr Carson has made race-based attacks before, saying in 2013 that Obama's signature healthcare overhaul "is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." And he's suggested he is still waiting to see evidence of racial bias by US law enforcement agencies.


Mr Obama, whose mother was white and father was black, has been fully embraced by many black Americans as one of their own. Mr Carson, however, has lost some admiration that many blacks held for his life story and medical accomplishments as a neurosurgeon with his conservative views, which have won praise in heavily white Republican circles.

Irish Independent

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