Ben Carson tells Black Lives Matter to refocus

Story highlights

  • Ben Carson said the Black Lives Matter movement needs to refocus
  • The movement should stop protesting Bernie Sanders and "march" in a new direction, he said

Washington (CNN)The Black Lives Matter movement is directing its anger at "the wrong targets," former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson wrote Monday.

Carson, who is black, wrote Monday in USA Today that the movement, which is aimed at ending racial injustices in the criminal justice system, needs to refocus itself if it intends to bring about change.
"The idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy. The 'BlackLivesMatter' movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change," Carson wrote. "The notion that some lives might matter less than others is meant to enrage. That anger is distracting us from what matters most. We're right to be angry, but we have to stay smart."
    Carson was referring to a group of Black Lives Matter activists who interrupted Sanders at event last month and took over the podium from the Vermont senator, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
    Activists from the movement met privately with the former secretary of state and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton earlier this month, after they arrived late to a rally and were barred from entering the venue. Another Democrat, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was also heckled by Black Lives Matters protesters at a recent event. The former Baltimore mayor previously apologized to members of the movement for responding to a question about Black Lives matter by saying, "All lives matter."
    Carson wrote in the op-ed that the protesters' anger over "racial policing issues" is justified, but said he took issue with the movement's targets.
    "Unjust treatment from police did not fill our inner cities with people who face growing hopelessness," he said.
    Carson instead called on the social justice movement to take on new targets: school boards, the entertainment industry, city halls, crack houses and both the Democratic and Republican parties in Washington.
    Of the Democratic Party, Carson said the activists should tell party officials "we don't want to be clothed, fed and housed. We want honor and dignity."
    And of Republicans, Carson said, activists should demand to be invited in and listened to because, "They have ignored us for too long."
    As he often does on the stump, Carson drew on his background -- his rise from poverty-ridden Detroit to becoming one of the foremost neurosurgeons of his generation -- and credited his mother with saving him and his brother from "being killed on those streets with nothing but a library card."
    "There are many things to be angry about when you are consumed by hopelessness. Bernie Sanders isn't one of them," Carson said.