OPINION

Rick Sanchez: Deciphering Ben Carson’s odd rock-throwing comment

Ben Carson at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum Sept. 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Ben Carson at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum Sept. 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina.  (2015 Getty Images)

Among the calls I got Thursday regarding Dr. Ben Carson’s comments about “throwing rocks at cars” were many callers who insinuated that the candidate couldn’t help himself because he was black.

Carson suggested to a group of white voters in New Hampshire, surely to their confusion and dismay, that they should all admit that they did it too.

I’m not laughing. Neither should any one else laugh. Nor should we tolerate that type of commentary from any presidential candidate.

- Rick Sanchez

“Does anybody remember throwing rocks at cars when you were young?” Carson asked. “Everybody did it, because it was so much fun. Those old people, they would get angry, and stop the car and chase you.”

Carson seemed annoyed when only a couple of people in the bewildered audience raised their hands. So he then went on to castigate the audience saying that only a few of them were “honest people.”

Really? He thinks most Americans have at some point in their lives thrown rocks at cars to taunt old people into chasing them? 

It’s wrong to boast about belittling old people while bashing their cars. It’s wrong to mention it without apology. And it’s wrong, if not downright tone-deaf, to assume that most Americans would relate to such demeaning behavior.

Maybe it’s because I’m Hispanic that Carson’s boast seems so offensive. So let me just go ahead and say what Carson would call politically incorrect. If punk Carson would have thrown rocks at my parents’ car and then taunted them, two things would have happened. He would not have gotten away and I would have gone to jail. Period!       

But if that wasn’t wrong enough, what Carson did next would have most Americans asking for President Obama’s head if he had said it. He implied that he was able to get away from the police back then, because “that was back in the days before they would shoot you."

The insinuation by Carson that police in America today shoot young black men indiscriminately is rubbing many police officers raw, no matter their race and nationality. For his part, Carson shifted after the comment, saying it was intended as a joke. Really? Can he be that tone-deaf? During a time when police officers like my own brother are feeling like they’re under siege by accusations of racism, trigger happiness and even getting away with murder, that’s his joke?

I’m not laughing. Neither should any one else laugh. Nor should we tolerate that type of commentary from any presidential candidate.

One more thing: Let’s stop with, ‘It’s a black thing’ defense! Bad behavior, whether it’s an overzealous police officer, an inner city youth or a tone-deaf politician, is just that; bad behavior — which has nothing to do with skin color!     

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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