Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a Republican 2016 presidential hopeful, had a lot to say about the Black Lives Matter movement while he was in Ferguson, Mo., where the movement was born out of the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown, CBS St. Louis and the Associated Press reports.
Carson chastised the activist movement in an interview with CBS News Friday, saying that it is “foisting itself on people, rather than engaging in dialogue, and bullying people. I never liked the idea of bullying on behalf of anybody.”
Referring to the backlash against the use of the phrase “All lives matter” by Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley, Carson said, “Of course all lives matter. … When we get off into a little thing that says, ‘No, this is the only thing you can say,’ that’s sickening to me,” he said, according to the report.
Carson said that race needs to be de-emphasized, and respect emphasized: “I would prefer [that ‘black’] be taken out,” Carson said to AP. “I obviously prefer that we focus on everybody. At the same time, I recognize that they’re trying to say that they feel that they’ve been treated unfairly. In many cases they have—I’m not going to take that away from them.”
Of Ferguson, he said to CBS reporter Major Garrett while touring the city, “For me it conjured up an image of the people feeling that they have been unjustly treated by the police and that justifies civil disturbance. It also conjures up an image of the people being unwilling to actually face the facts. I think the community is unwilling to face the fact that Michael Brown was a bad actor.”
Nonetheless, Carson reportedly acknowledged that leaving Brown’s body in the street for hours after the shooting was a sign of disrespect by the police. According to the report, he also said that although some violence followed amid the protests that was harmful to Ferguson’s economy and image, it brought attention to the long-overlooked issues of race, justice and economic opportunity.
Read more at CBS St. Louis.