FRANKLIN, Tennessee — Three days before the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, former presidential candidate and world-renowned surgeon Dr. Ben Carson traveled to Williamson County to tell a packed audience that Critical Race Theory (CRT) defies the teachings of the late civil rights activist.

Carson, who also served in the Trump administration as the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, spoke at The Factory in Franklin, only a few miles away from the Williamson County School System’s (WCS’s) main office. Several frustrated parents have long said that the WCS continues to teach CRT, against those parents’ wishes.

Carson told the audience that CRT creates “a combination of white guilt and minority victimhood.” He also said it “leads to some of the most absurd policymaking that you can ever imagine.”

“Our diversity is not a problem. It is a strength. These people who are pushing politics that are antithetical to Dr. King’s dream, what are they trying to do? They are trying to make people act like animals. Let me tell you what I am talking about,” Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said.

“If you look at the human brain and you put that next to an animal’s brain [then] the animal’s brain will have a very well-developed mid-brain. A mid-brain allows you to react, and you react to those things very quickly. The human brain does not have that well-developed of a mid-brain, but it has huge frontal lobes. Those allow you to process information. Actual intellectual functioning. Grasp information from the past and the present. Project it into a plan. Assess the situation. In other words, to be able to judge somebody by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. They want us and our children to act like animals and just look at the color of someone’s skin.”

Former Nashville mayoral candidate and former Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain and the group Moms for Liberty hosted this American Dream Conference.

Swain told the audience that Martin Luther King Jr. never preached racial polarization.

“Dr. King was not an American who hated America. He believed in the American dream. He believed in our Constitution. He believed in our Declaration of Independence. He believed that all men and women are created equal. I believe that if Dr. King were alive today then he would be so deeply saddened by the state we are in when it comes to race relations,” Swain said.

“We have gone backwards. We have totally begun to destroy his vision of a colorblind society. Instead of a colorblind society, what we seem to want is a color-conscious society where people are judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. That is unacceptable.”

Musicians John Rich and Larry Gatlin entertained the audience prior to Carson’s speech.

The American Dream Conference is scheduled to conclude Saturday.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]