Dr. Carson spoke in Ferguson, Missouri on Friday
Dr. Ben Carson said in Ferguson, Missouri, on Friday that police need to respect African-Americans, but he said black communities need to respect law enforcement as well.
Dr. Carson, who currently sits in second place in virtually every state and national poll for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said Friday: “It is very important that police are taught to be respectful of everybody, my point is we need to make sure respect is offered in both directions.”
Carson also said that he’d gladly meet with leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. He recounted a story one Ferguson resident told him of when she walked out of her house last year to find cops in riot gear and tanks on the streets.
Protests and riots rocked the northern St. Louis County community in August 2014.
“She said, ‘What’s going on?’ and the police said, ‘Oh, nothing,'” Carson recalled. “That’s not respectful. That’s her neighborhood. You know she has a right to know what’s going on there and we need to teach our police to be respectful.”
But Carson also had cautionary words for the activist group known as “Black Lives Matter”, who were galvanized after the August 2014 shooting death of Michel Brown, a robbery suspect, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Carson said the movement needs to focus on challenges facing the entire black community, saying they should call themselves “All Black Lives Matter” and address abortions and violence in majority black neighborhoods, like those that dominate northern St. Louis County.
The movement known as “Black Lives Matter” was born in the wake of the Ferguson unrest.
“We need to be looking at all the factors that have kept the black community in a dependent position for decades,” he said.
Carson is right. While police brutality is seemingly alive and well in America, Black Lives Matter’s seeming refusal to also acknowledge the prolonged existence of Black-on-Black violence within the African-American community comes off as hypocritical and negligible to the outside observer. Instead, their outward message has reeked of denial and abrasiveness.
Many have criticized the forcefulness of the police response in Ferguson
For what it’s worth, we’d love to see Carson’s proposed meeting with Black Lives Matter leaders actually take place. It’d be a great opportunity, both for Dr. Carson and Black Lives Matter, to display a sense of tact and leadership. Something that’s been sorely lacking in both the presidential campaign and our national public discourse.
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