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Detroit school board seeks to dishonor Ben Carson, one of city’s greatest role models | Dom Giordano

The U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development is a model of achievement from the Motor City, and locals who want to yank his name off a school building do his lifetime of achievement a disservice.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has risen to great prominence not only in government, but in the fields of medicine and science.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has risen to great prominence not only in government, but in the fields of medicine and science.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

The leaders of the city of Detroit were beaming with pride this past week over a process they set up to get rid of a menace in their midst.

No, they didn't start an innovative process to fight crime, curtail gun violence, or entice more businesses to come back to Detroit.

No, they didn't put a dent in the staggering functional illiteracy rate in the town. A Detroit-based report earlier in this decade estimated that 47 percent of adults in the city are "functionally illiterate," meaning they read, write or speak on a level that doesn't let them function sufficiently for daily living or employment. The report added that the Detroit Regional Workforce found that half of that illiterate population has obtained a high school degree.

With all this going on, the Detroit school board voted, 6-1 to start a process to rename the Dr. Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine. Carson is a Detroit native, and the school was named after him to inspire students from tough areas in the city to follow his path from poverty to becoming one of the most recognized surgeons of his generation. In fact, Carson's career is so fabled that books have been written about him. The school had been named in his honor, not only for his contributions to the global medical community, but also as a role model for Detroit students who might aspire to careers in the medical and scientific fields.

School board member Lamar Lemmons acknowledged to the Washington Post that politics is driving the decision. He said he is leading the charge to remove Carson's name from the school, saying it is "synonymous with having Trump's name on the building in blackface."

If you're not shocked and outraged by this, then your rage toward President Trump truly has warped any sense of rationality in you.

The message conveyed by removing Carson's name from the school seems to be part of a scorched-earth resistance movement to anyone associated with Trump.

Yanking Carson's name off the building won't offer the inspiration that Carson's story represents. Instead, it can harm the very students who might squeeze inspiration from Carson and his rise to prominence.

Of course, this removal of a public salute to Carson is a part of a movement to do things such as removing the Frank Rizzo statue from its place of honor near City Hall, defacing Christopher Columbus monuments, and diminishing the contributions of American heroes such as the Founding Fathers.

The removal of Carson's name also plays into the notion that Trump is a threat to our democracy itself and that anyone who supports him in any way must be punished.

This view was espoused by Chester County's newly elected member of Congress, Chrissy Houlahan, in a debate with Dan Crenshaw, newly elected member of Congress from Texas, on "Face the Nation."

Neither she nor the other two Democrats on the panel could answer Crenshaw's question when he asked, "What democratic freedoms have been undermined?"

Their answers seemed to center on Trump's battle with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

I don't think that significant numbers of Americans thought that the sanctions imposed on Acosta by the White House threaten the republic.
Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, struck such a hopeful note for Americans coming together when, on "Saturday Night Live," he forgave comedian Pete Davidson for a cruel joke about the eye patch he wears for a war injury.

He repeatedly made the point that Democrats don't like Trump's tone, and are creating hysteria over Trump as a budding dictator.

This narrative was preached by various pundits over the Thanksgiving holiday when the New York Times profiled people such as Amy McCarthy, who argued at the foodie website Eater that people were morally obliged to debate "racist" Trump supporters at the dinner table.

"You can't just sit there and pretend that the people in your family didn't play some role in getting to where we are today," she wrote.

"For the temporary peace during dinner, you trade an opportunity to make a space you occupy safer for everyone."

Maybe the Detroit School Board, Chrissy Houlahan, and Amy McCarthy and others like them are outliers.

I know their approaches won't win the hearts and minds of the average American.

Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard 9 a.m. to noon weekdays on WPHT (1210-AM). Contact him at On Twitter at @DomShow1210