Tuesday, February 24, 2009

At Home with The Carsons

Baltimore Magazine has a great feature on Dr. Benjamin Carson, the internationally renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, and his wife Candy, who were both profiled in the made for television movie this month, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story on TNT. (I hope my readers had a chance to see it - it's an amazing story!)

The article takes you into their home in Baltimore, sharing their story of when they first moved in and how Dr. Carson likes to unwind, as well as sharing his thoughts on the making of the movie, the media’s impact on African Americans and parenting.

Snippets from the article by Jane Marion:

"I don't shy away from the fact that financially we've done well, and it's not just from medicine," he says. In addition to taking on close to 400 medical cases a year, Carson sits on the board of several for-profit corporations including The Kellogg Company and Costco Wholesale Corporation, and gives motivational speeches across the country. "I get lots of money to go around and make speeches," says Carson. "And I've got real estate in different places. One of the points I like to make with young people is that you can do that without being an athlete or an entertainer."

Carson feels the media reinforces the image of sports and entertainment as the only roads to riches for African-Americans. "Look at The Cosby Show," he says. "You have a physician married to a lawyer, and they live in this okay place, but I never appreciated that the show that came on right after Cosby was Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, in which these rappers get into their limos after they get out of their mansions and onto their private jets. You juxtapose that to what a doctor and lawyer are making, and it sends out the message that you can go out and get all this education but you're not going to go anywhere with it."

For the purposes of depicting his own odyssey—from humble roots in a cramped house in Detroit's Deacon Street ("that was our dream house and it was not even as big as my garage is now") to his current home, Carson felt it was important to show what money can buy when you achieve academic success.

"I don't necessarily want kids to do something for money," he explains, "but I want them to understand that when you develop yourself intellectually, you become valuable to society in many ways. You don't have to take a vow of poverty."

On parenting their children: "The one thing I've noticed over the years is that the children of a lot of people we know who are quite affluent have not done well," says Carson. "Being determined that our children would not grow up that way and that they would understand the value of hard work and the value of money, we've been very careful not to spoil them. Growing up in hardship was a tremendous advantage to me. It puts fire in your belly and gives you the will to keep going when people tell you you should quit."

The article also highlights that Mrs. Carson is famous for her vegetarian meals and after church Sunday brunches. (Mrs. Carson, can I get an invite?! I'm not far from Baltimore!)

Read full article here.

Photo: Baltimoremagazine.net/Credit: CORY DONOVAN

1 comment:

M or M said...

I never heard of Dr.Carson before!
I really appreciated this post!

and I agree with Mr. Carson with how the Cosby's were portrayed... I mean there are many young children out there that want to be entertainers and athletes because the wealth is heavily portrayed EVERYwhere! and nobody really knows how you can earn that type of money without these stylized professions. It goes on to add to the many problems with the urban black community economically and educationally, and how this socially shared attitude is very often displayed...