If the Congressional Black Caucus does indeed have a policy that prevents nonblacks from becoming voting members of the organization, it is acting in a racist fashion, according to Dr. Ben Carson.
The former neurosurgeon made his comments in an interview uploaded to YouTube, also adding, “If members of the Congressional Black Caucus would object if there were, let’s say, a Congressional Irish Caucus that wouldn’t let them in, then I think that would be hypocrisy and it would, in fact, be racist.
“During the civil rights movement, a lot of the people who worked feverishly were not black, and if they simply said, ‘You people can’t be involved,’ I wonder how much progress we would have made,” he continued.
The Congressional Black Caucus has always been a black organization since its founding in 1971 and has never had a white member before, according to FactCheck.org. That being said, the group's stated mission is more encompassing, striving to empower “neglected citizens” regardless of color.
The interviewer pushed Carson on his definitions of racism and what qualifies as racist.
“I would define it as people making decisions about others based on superficial characteristics and unfairly doing so,” Carson said. “And in our society today, I think a lot of racism is paternalism. I mean, you believe that certain people can’t do things and that you must do them for them.”
According to Carson, Martin Luther King Jr. would be “very unhappy” if he saw people being “judged based on … superficial characteristics.”
As for policies like affirmative action?
“What I have advocated is something that I call compassionate action, and what that means is that you look at the whole composite … not just race per se. I would be much more inclined to look at a person’s total circumstances,” the retired neurosurgeon said.