It’s a classic case of black conservatism, the belief that individual resolve should be enough to fend off structural racism. But Carson’s auto-biography pokes holes in his own story. When you read about his life, you see someone who was not only exceptionally hard-working, but like all successful people, at times exceptionally lucky.
Had Carson actually succeeded in stabbing the friend he claims to have attacked as a teenager, Carson likely would have served time and jail and struggled to find work as a convicted felon; his right to vote probably would have been revoked, too. Carson likes to discuss how his short temper led to him go after people with rocks, bricks, baseball bats, and hammers. Hundreds of thousands of black people who made similar mistakes are caught in the racially-predatory cycle of the criminal justice system that refuses to grant them second chances. Yet, he abhors the Black Lives Matter movement for daring to challenge the racist policies that could have very well prevented him from rehabilitating had he been been jailed for his wayward behavior.
Here’s another telling anecdote: In his 1999 book The Big Picture, Carson wrote about an incident involving his mother being arrested in a suburb of Detroit because she, according to the arresting officer, fit the description of a woman who abducted an elderly couple; the charges were later dismissed with the help of a prominent lawyer friend who was also a fellow Yale alum.
Only a black person who reached the highest summit of social and professional achievement could have called his Ivy League buddy to get his mother out; the residents of Ferguson who were daily targets of rampant racial profiling, according to a Department of Justice report, did not enjoy such social pull.