paul ryan

Paul Ryan backtracks, swears his comments about lazy ‘inner city’ men were not about race

Mar 13, 2014

Yesterday, Paul Ryan got called out on using dog-whistle terms to insinuate that poor black people are lazy, and citing the work of a well-known White Nationalist to do so. Now, the simpering man-child is insisting that his comments about the “laziness” of “inner-city” men had naught to do with race and he is simply aghast that anyone could think that they were.

Via Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is standing by comments he made linking a “culture” of men not working in inner cities to poverty, saying the remarks had “nothing to do” with race.

The House Budget Committee chairman told Crew of 42′s Lauren Victoria Burke on Wednesday that his comments, made earlier in the day on Bill Bennett’s “Morning In America,” were taken out of context.

“It was a long talk and he asked about the culture and I just went off of that,” Ryan told Burke. “This has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.”

“This isn’t a race based comment it’s a breakdown of families, it’s rural poverty in rural areas, and talking about where poverty exists — there are no jobs and we have a breakdown of the family,” he explained, repeating “This has nothing to do with race.”

Yes, why can’t we all understand that by “inner-city” he meant rural. How was that not clear?

I find two things positively shocking here. First of all being that Paul Ryan, a white Senator from Wisconsin thinks he has some kind of implicit and deep understanding of any “culture” outside that of white dudes from Wisconsin–in fact, enough understanding to say right out that they have a “culture of laziness.” That would be like me talking about how much I know about the “culture” of rural Southerners.

Second, the fact that he thought he could actually get away with citing Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve” and not be called out on it. It was literally a book about how black people were intellectually inferior to white people. This guy’s whole area of “study” is centered on proving that black people are genetically inferior, somehow, to white people, and Paul Ryan thinks he can just throw that name out there and insist he’s not talking about race? Yeah, and for his next trick, he will spit in your face and tell you it’s raining. On your first day at the rodeo.

This would be like citing Julia Child and then insisting that you were not talking about cooking. Or citing Spinoza and insisting you are talking about interior decorating or something. I don’t know. All I can tell you is that positively citing the work of Charles Murray is the rhetorical equivalent of donning a white sheet and announcing to the world “I’m here, full of fear, and I’m racist.”

Couched in their insistence that they neither see nor recognize race and are so very colorblind that they cannot even imagine what this “racism” is  that people are talking about is about, is a deep-seated desire amongst some conservatives to say and do racist shit without actually being called out on it. They want it so badly their desperation is palpable, and they are not particularly good at hiding it.

What I would love to see, more than anything, would be to see an interview with Paul Ryan in which he was forced to explain exactly what he meant by “inner city,” and what exactly he finds so compelling about the work of Charles Murray. Because, you see, “inner city” isn’t really even a “thing” anymore. You know who lives in the middle of the city these days? People who have a pretty good amount of money. Yuppies live in the middle of the city now. You know, because gentrification. I have a feeling, just an inkling, that this was not who Ryan was talking about.  “Inner city”–much like “urban”–is a code word or dog-whistle term for “black.” Or at least “not white.” And everyone, and their mother, knows it.

Paul Ryan, you are fooling exactly no one.

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