The Root: In Defense of Candy Carson


There’s a particularly mean meme about presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Lacena, aka Candy, circulating around social media. In the meme, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are striking at the China state dinner Friday. President Obama is dressed in a well-tailored tuxedo, and the first lady has long, side-swept hair and an off-the-shoulder, custom-made Vera Wang gown.

The contrasting picture of the Carsons was taken in May, on the day Carson officially announced his candidacy for president in Detroit. He is dressed in an unremarkable but still presentable blue suit. It’s Candy Carson’s appearance that makes the meme funny to some (but not me). She is wearing a hairstyle and patriotic ensemble that is unflattering, ill-fitting and dated. The meme caption is a play on a popular DirecTV commercial that clowns its cable competitors for being subpar.


This is what my P.C. mind thinks: I’m no fan of presidential candidate Ben Carson. I don’t like his politics. He receives his fair share of ire from potential voters, but he asked to be dissected in the media, traditional and social, when he announced his bid for the presidency. Candy Carson did not. There are plenty of exceptionally valid reasons to rage about Ben Carson without adding his wife to the mix.

I hark back to the time in 2008 when Obama, then just a presidential candidate, appeared on Good Morning America to defend his wife from undue attacks for her alleged lack of patriotism.

“I’ve been in public life for 20 years,” he explained. “I expect them to pore through everything that I’ve said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That’s what they do.”

He added: “But I do want to say this ... if they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because I find that unacceptable ... I think it is just low class.”

I loved how Obama stood up for his wife. He was the candidate running for office, not his wife. And Michelle Obama didn’t deserve to be ripped apart because of his political ambitions. Her being attacked wasn’t right and was “low class.” Period.

But then there’s also the un-P.C. part of mind, the side that gets me in the most trouble as a writer. That untamed part of my brain? It’s mature enough not to laugh at Candy Carson’s expense, but it’s still asking why she came out of the house looking like that when her man is announcing his presidential bid. She didn’t just join him onstage to say, “Congrats, boo!” and go on her way. Candy Carson, an accomplished violinist, performed that day, too, playing the national anthem as her husband’s intro music. Come on!

Well-meaning sympathizers of Candy Carson have excused her appearance as a result of her religious beliefs. She is a devout Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that discourages women from wearing makeup and jewelry and emphasizes a modest appearance. OK. But religion and modesty are not synonymous with ill-fitting and unflattering and out-of-date. Also, there’s a Seventh-day Adventist church on my block, and on Saturday morning, the women I see look well put together for service. Candy Carson’s look can’t be blamed on religion.

Let me tell you a story: I recall, when I was a kid, maybe 10, I attended a family event with my mother. A male family member, who had always been praised for his looks and appearance, showed up looking dapper, as always. His wife? Not so much. Pretty lady, but she looked as if she hadn’t put in much effort for the occasion of seeing all of her husband’s family, when she should have.

My mother leaned over to me in my seat and offered me a dose of grown-lady wisdom: “When your man is looking like something, you make sure you look like it, too. Don’t show up looking like the help.” I never forgot that.

Is that shallow? Maybe.

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Raven -Symone: "Some People Just Look Like Animals" (Sigh)

Raven-Symone has lost her damn mind. I knew someone Black was going to come to the defense of former Univision host Rodner Figueroa who was recently fired after he compared First Lady Michelle Obama to Planet of the Apes. I guessed Don Lemon, maybe Stacey Dash.  They’ve both made a brand out of going right when all the other black people go left. It gets them more attention. But you know who else is starting to do that too? Raven-Symoné.

Yesterday, she visited The View as a guest host. And when the topic of Figueroa’s comments about FLOTUS came up, Raven-Symoné, wondered if he was actually being racist in comparing the First Lady to an ape, an allusion with historically racist implications.

“But was he saying it ‘racist-like?’” Raven-Symoné interjected, as if there is anyway to compare a black woman to an ape that’s not racist. “Because [Figueroa] did say he voted for [Obama] later and I don’t think he was saying it racist.”

Huh? Is this like the Oklahoma SAE frat guy who sang about lynching black folk to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and when he was called racist, he posted a picture of a black girl he took to the frat’s dance one year? Because, you know, a date with a black woman at any point in history automatically cancels out any possibility of ever being racist, even when doing something blatantly racist, right? Is Figueroa that kind of not racist?

Things got more confusing as Raven-Symoné kept on. “Not Michelle…but some people look like animals,” she added. “I look like a bird, so can I be mad if somebody calls me Toucan Sam?”

Um… last I checked there were no historically racist implications about African-Americans and the bird on the Fruit Loops box. And while Raven-Symoné may be under the impression that she looks like a beloved feathered friend— I disagree, but she’s entitled to think what she wants about her appearance— Michelle Obama doesn’t look anything like anything like a damn ape. So what does Symoné thinking she looks like a bird have to do with anything at all?

From most black folk, this would be a brain fart, like the time Sherri Shepherd couldn’t make a solid call on whether the world was flat, or round. But Symoné—not to confused with cute “Olivia”, who she played on TV over two decades ago—is starting to show a pattern of ignorance when it comes to race (and sexuality). And she’s starting to seem deeper in the Instagram memes of “Olivia” than she does in actual grown-up interviews.

In October, she had a sit down with Oprah where she just sounded utterly confused. “I don’t want to be labeled gay….I’m a human who loves other humans. …I’m American not African-American.  I don’t know what country I’m from in Africa, but I do know I have roots in Louisiana. I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person.”

To who? Don Imus? Paula Deen? The Ferguson PD? The NYPD? George Zimmerman? Or…


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