In a move that defies logic and reels of the toxic politicization and increasing polarization of American life, members of the Detroit School Board have voted to strip retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson’s name from a popular high school in the Michigan city.
As director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1987, Dr. Benjamin Carson splashed onto the national scene for successfully separating 7-month-old conjoined twins. The 22-hour surgery was the first of its kind. He went on to conduct other similar surgeries.
With a background befitting a Hollywood script (Dr. Carson’s life story was actually made into a movie), the soft-spoken doctor has been rightly and understandably lauded for his medical talents and inspirational rise. Raised by a single, illiterate mother who limited he and his brother’s television viewing, the former Detroit resident battled and overcame anger issues. He struggled academically – both in college and in medical school. But he kept working and never gave up.
“My mother told me if I work hard and I really believed in American principles and I believed in God, anything is possible,” he has said.
For Benjamin Carson, M.D., “anything” manifested itself in a storied medical career, a campaign for the presidency in 2016 – and the nomination and confirmation as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) between 2017 and 2021 under President Trump
It’s no wonder that a school would want to be associated with a man of such accomplishment. After all, don’t we want today’s students to emulate men like Dr. Carson?
Apparently, the Detroit School Board doesn’t think so. So, what’s changed?
Guilt by conservative association, it would seem.
“It’s very sad that we’ve reached the point where political ideology trumps the whole purpose of an educational institution,” Dr. Carson said on Tuesday.
“And we’re seeing this wokeness spreading throughout our community to the destruction of our community. How does it do any good for us to demonize people with whom we disagree and to teach that to our children at a time when the math scores are down, the reading scores are down, academic performance is down?”
Today’s American culture is sick, and on many levels. We chastise those we should be championing and champion those whose wrong-headed, dangerous beliefs should be chastised.
Names of institutions matter. Naming schools after individuals not only honors the person whose name goes on the building – but gives shape, form and vision to all those students walking into the institution each day. In the case of students at Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine, it was a reminder that the seemingly impossible was possible. By looking to the life and successes of the school’s namesake, students were inspired to reach even beyond their grasp.
“Cancel culture is alive and well,” reflected Dr. Carson. “It’s infiltrating. Political correctness, wokeness, cancel culture, this is going to destroy us as a nation if we don’t get a grip on it.”
If members of the Detroit School Board were truly interested in inspiring and encouraging their city’s students to reach for the stars, not only would they not erase Dr. Carson’s name from this particular high school – they would add his name to dozens more.