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by The Bass Sisters
Last month, the Detroit school board voted to rename The Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine. Dr. Ben Carson reached global fame when he successfully separated twins conjoined at the head. It has been widely reported that the name was changed because of his role as the 17th Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump Administration. We believe that the root of the displeasure with Dr. Carson is a problem that progressive liberals have with most Black conservatives. Kay Coles James, former president of the Heritage Foundation, described it as having the audacity to believe what her grandmother taught her.
Yes. Ultimately, Dr. Benjamin Carson's name is being removed because he has the audacity to believe what his mother taught him. Her lessons have served him well for his entire life. Being canceled is no reason for the Yale-educated Presidential Medal of Honor philanthropist to abandon his mother's teachings now.
Dr. Carson's rise to such prominence is even more profound when you understand that he was born into poverty and struggled as a student until his mother laid down the law. She was a domestic worker and determined that the common factor in the homes of the wealthy was an abundance of books. She began requiring Dr. Carson and his brother to read books and write reports. She would study the reports making marks in the margin. It was not until many years later that Dr. Carson learned that his mother couldn't read. However, she knew the power that education would have in lifting her sons from poverty. She clearly knew what she was doing. Dr. Carson became a brain surgeon, and his brother a rocket scientist.
We first met Dr. Carson in 1997 when Dee Dee received the Young Achievers Award from
MBNA America. He was the keynote speaker for the event. Before he could even exit the stage, Dee Dee attacked him for a picture. Fast forward to 2016, Deana would be on the presidential campaign trail, watching him patiently take pictures with hundreds upon hundreds of adoring Americans. He would exhibit the same gracious and humble manner as he did with Dee Dee.
After working as his national press secretary, Deana took a leave of absence from Bass Public Affairs to support Dr. Carson at the Department of Housing and Urban Development as deputy chief of staff. When she left this post, we joked that we should do what many former staffers of high-profile leaders do. We should write a tell-all book from behind the scenes in Dr. Carson's world. We would hype the book to make huge sales through preorders. On the day the book is released, the inside content would yield the refreshing scandal-less truth, nothing more than blank pages, a few Bible verses, and quotes from Alexis de Tocqueville.
Besides the fact that we have come to regard Dr. Carson as one of the most admirable men on the planet, the attempt to cancel him is disturbing because, on a smaller, far less public scale, we have experienced cancel culture because of our political views. Like Dr. Carson, our views are based on the lessons that our mother taught us. Our opinions may be out of fashion with the progressive left, but they still track with the Bible we read. The truth of God's word is absolute. Morality is not a shifting target.
If you don't find it offensive that the Detroit school board is attempting to erase Dr. Carson, it may be because the speech police do not yet have you in their target. But it is only a matter of time. We speak out against the attempt to cancel Dr. Carson as we would against silencing any political thoughts, even those we vehemently oppose.
We could not agree more with Dr. Carson, who often says, "If two people think the same thing about everything, one of them isn't necessary. We need to be able to understand that if we're going to make real progress."
The Bass Sisters: Dee Dee Bass Wilbon and Deana Bass Williams are sisters and co-founders of Bass Public Affairs a Washington, DC based public affairs firm. They co-host the podcast Policy and Pound Cake.