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Mitchell: Ben Carson fumbles on #BlackLivesMatter

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Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, waded into the debate over the Black Lives Matter movement last week.

In an interview with CBS News, Carson, who is black, accused the movement of “foisting” itself on people and “bullying people.”

“I never like the idea of bullying on behalf of anybody,” he told the CBS News reporter.

But Carson was wrong about the bullying.

The anti-police brutality group gave voice to an injustice that we’ve ignored for too long.

And the only way issues that matter to black people have ever gotten noticed is when civil rights leaders “foisted” themselves on government.

OPINION

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The grassroots movement was birthed last year in response to the fatal police involved shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Since then, #BlackLivesMatter has consistently been a top-trending subject on social media.

But it didn’t take long for whites to focus on the “Black” part of the slogan as being a problem.

After incidents in which police officers were fatally shot, law enforcement accused the group of fostering a dangerous anti-police sentiment.

“We’ve heard Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. Well, cops’ lives matter, too,” Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ron Hickman said after the shooting of Darren Goforth, a deputy.

Carson appears to agree.

“Race needs to be de-emphasized and respect emphasized,” he said in the interview.

Besides taking a predictable position, Carson, who grew up in a gritty urban environment, missed a real opportunity to bring “Black Lives Matter” home.

For instance, my heart grieves for the unidentified baby whose body parts were found in the Garfield Park lagoon last week.

While we aren’t certain about the circumstances of this child’s death, many of us know too many black and brown children are being abused and mistreated by the very people who are supposed to love and protect them.

Instead of saying something, too many of us look away when an impatient mother whacks a child or uses language that demeans or threatens.

Some of us are still too careless about who we leave our kids with even though there are countless examples of children being harmed by live-in boyfriends.

There was a time when people would actually brag that certain crimes don’t happen in the black community. Not anymore. Crimes in the black community seem to get more and more heinous.

The lives of women like Laneesha Miller also matter.

The Atlanta woman’s boyfriend allegedly beat her with a hammer and then choked her to death before dismembering her body and putting the pieces in four suitcases.

Police charged Paul Meyers, and his brother, Arronis Jackson, with a crime that even the judge described as barbaric.

The only ray of hope in such a gruesome story is someone apparently tipped off police that Miller didn’t just simply run off somewhere.

I won’t even get into the senseless shootings and homicides that occur in the city’s predominantly black and brown neighborhoods every night.

As the only African-American in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Carson has access to a powerful platform.

I hope he uses it to address the black-on-black violence that so many other politicians ignore.

After all, if we want black lives to matter to everybody else, those lives must first matter to us.

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