White Guilt and the Obsequious Negro – Musings on Dr. Ben Carson


Ben Carson

Google defines the word obsequious as “obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree. Synonyms offered are “servile, ingratiating, sycophantic, fawning, unctuous, oily, oleaginous, groveling, cringing, subservient, submissive, slavish, brown-nosing, bootlicking, smarmy and ass-kissing.

This definition perfectly describes the public persona of Ben Carson with regards to white people. It has been obvious for quite some time that Dr. Carson’s entire existence is an audition for proximity to whiteness, especially after Carson’s “slaves were immigrants” comment.

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

There’s not much beyond derision and ridicule that I can offer as critique of Carson’s ridiculous ahistorical comments, but an interesting conversation can be held about the reasoning behind his cloying need to make such pronouncements. Simply put, Dr. Carson is motivated by a desperate need to be liked by white people. In his search for white acceptance, he has found a need engendered by whiteness that he can fulfill and in meeting that need he has indeed found a modicum of favorable reception.

One of the defining characteristics of whiteness as identity is its implied innocence. This innocence is as mythical as it is false and, therefore it needs to buttressed by a continuous barrage of lies to obscure how utterly bereft this myth is. Whiteness is, of course not innocent. The very idea of a people who would be white is a very evil thing as the idea of being “white” has been the excuse for all manner of atrocities committed by people who would see themselves as white against People of Color. In reality whiteness is guilty.

The myth of white innocence juxtaposed against the reality of white guilt is cause for a great degree of cognitive dissonance and sociological fragility in white identified people which creates a need for People of Color who would speak against their own reality in support of the myth of white innocence.

Ben Carson and other public anti Black Negroes have a quid pro quo relationship with whiteness. His public performance of self-negation is rewarded with recognition, promotion, and ever higher platforms for which to blather his inanities. He knows damn well his happy slaves tripe is falsehood as much as his intended audience. It’s just that they need to hear those lies as much as he needs to tell them.

-Michael Chester