Tarnished’: How Ben Carson Is Losing His Legacy

Written by Rewindingblack

Growing up in the predominantly black neighborhood of Forest Park in Baltimore, Erica Puentes considered Ben Carson her ultimate role model.

“We were fed a healthy diet of Ben Carson. Ben Carson is the figure you have to look up to, model yourself to be,” Puentes, a 20-year-old University of Maryland College Park student, recalls now. “We were working class students of color and he just represented hope.”

But now, as Republican presidential candidate and the only African-American in the crowded GOP field, Carson may be losing that legacy and disillusioning legions of fans who grew up idolizing him.

The renowned neurosurgeon – who overcame hardscrabble roots in inner-city Detroit to become the head of neurosurgery at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University and the first person ever to successfully separate twins conjoined at the brain – has been a folk hero, role model, and icon for many minority families. His memoir “Gifted Hands” was made into a TV movie, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Last year, he tied for sixth in a Gallup poll as the most admired man in America.

Carson’s place in the nation’s cultural psyche was immortalized by “The Wire,” HBO’s acclaimed series set in Baltimore. When a teacher in one episode asks troubled kids their aspirations, most say they want to be drug kingpins. But one boy says, “I wanna be a pediatric neurosurgeon like that one n***er.”

But now, with his very conservative views and harsh criticisms of President Barack Obama, Carson has disillusioned many who once looked up to him.


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Rewinding To Remember