If this story doesn’t outrage you, then congratulations, you’re officially a jerk. On Thursday, 2016 presidential hopeful Ben Carson asked a room full of elementary school children to point out the dumbest kid in their class. And as you might expect, the kids did exactly that.
Ben Carson was addressing a crowd at an elementary school in Iowa on Thursday, during which he asked the students to point out the “worst student” in their class. According to Des Moines Register reporter Timothy Meinch, several students pointed directly at the same boy.
Carson then used that boy’s needlessly embarrassing moment to leapfrog into a chat about himself, claiming he often felt like the dumbest kid in school, but that he went on to become a successful neurosurgeon.
So, to sum all of that up: Ben Carson publicly humiliated a child while using him as a live-action prop to kick off a piece of his stump speech.
Reporters later asked the boy if his feelings had been hurt by Ben Carson’s ignorant question, to which the boy responded “No.” Ben Carson and his supporters probably think that’s satisfactory to avoid this becoming a scandal. Hopefully the rest of America disagrees.
Ben Carson’s ridiculous stunt constitutes the bullying of a child. Did he intentionally set out to alienate that child or embarrass him? Was he hoping to break some random kid’s spirit? Let’s hope not. But that doesn’t change the fact that Carson acted without thinking, and in doing so, needlessly and irrationally exposed a young child to public humiliation. Grown-ups are supposed to know better. But maybe Ben Carson isn’t really a grown-up.
Here’s hoping that the child bullied today by Ben Carson grows up to accomplish great things. And let’s hope the boy’s parents, his school, and his friends will stick up for him in the coming days, weeks, and months, and build on his self-esteem in all of the right ways.
As for Ben Carson, let’s hope he decides to keep this in his stump speech, on the sole condition that the next time this sleepy right-wing clown openly encourages a group of children to point at the stupidest person in the room with them, every single finger in that room flings out in the direction of Ben Carson. He deserves nothing less.