Americans must start thinking collectively as a society and forget about "silly divisions" such as race, says Dr. Ben Carson.
"We have to recognize that we're all in the same boat in this country, and if part of the boat sinks, the rest of it goes down, too," the retired director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore said Monday on Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor."
Host Bill O'Reilly has been sparking dialogue on race since last week when his "Talking Points Memo" segment encouraged black leaders to face up to issues such as crime, low education and out-of-wedlock births that keep blacks impoverished.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who hosts his own show on MSNBC, has fired back, accusing O'Reilly, who is white, of racism. But O'Reilly has continued his quest for action more than a "conversation," which he dismisses as useless talking. He calls Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson "race hustlers" who are looking to line their own pockets rather than find a solution to the issue.
Carson is one of several black guests who have backed O'Reilly.
Carson said Monday: "For every one of those people that we can keep from going down that path of self-destruction that's one less person that we have to be afraid of or protect our families from, one less person that we have to pay for in the penal system or the welfare system, one more taxpaying, productive member of society who may discover a new energy source or the cure for cancer."
Carson said the effort to divide people on race is part of a large, secular political movement.
"This is part of Saul Alinsky's whole plan for changing a society," he said. Alinsky, author of the book "Rules for Radicals," is considered the founder of the community organizer movement.
Events and court decisions such as the recent George Zimmerman verdict are being exploited so people will be divided along racial lines and not see the real problems facing the black community, Carson said. Carson noted it was once illegal to teach slaves to read "because they knew that an educated person is a liberated person."
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