Eddie Munster look-alike, Rep. Paul Ryan is defending racist comments he made about inner city men — ahem, black men. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chair and one-half of a failed Republican presidential ticket, is trying to brand himself as an anti-poverty crusader. He went on Bill Bennett’s radio show and talked about his ongoing desire to address poverty by slamming most of the existing anti-poverty programs in America. He claimed that poverty is caused by men in “our inner cities” who are “not even thinking about working.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) read Ryan the riot act:
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, fired back at House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) for claiming that poverty is caused by men in “our inner cities” who are “not even thinking about working.” His comments “are a thinly veiled racial attack and cannot be tolerated,” Lee said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black.’”
“As someone who sits on the Budget Committee with Mr. Ryan, I know that his assertions about the racial dynamics of poverty are not only statistically inaccurate, but deeply offensive,” she said. “Instead of demonizing ‘culture,’ and blaming black men for their poverty, Mr. Ryan should step up and produce some legitimate proposals on how to tackle poverty and racial discrimination in America. His uninformed policy proposals continue to increase poverty, not solve it. My colleague is demonstrating a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the issues in urban and black communities.” Source: Think Progress
Rep. Paul Ryan claims the comments had nothing whatsoever to do with race? Really? Can’t recall seeing many white men in the inner cities of America. Just black and Hispanic men. The fact is Rep. Ryan wants us to believe that the blame for America’s persistently high poverty is due to the moral and cultural failings of poor people. But not just any poor people, I might add. The ones that live in the inner cities of America are the cause of America’s poverty.
So, let me get this straight — the people who are most often the victims of economic inequality are responsible for the racial and economic inequality in America? The fact is a Princeton University study found that it is much easier for a white felon to get a job than a black felon. I would love to hear Paul Ryan’s explanation as to how the “real culture problem” we are currently experiencing is that “generations of men” in the inner city don’t “value the culture of work.”
Rep. Ryan’s comments are a disgrace, but we have come to expect this kind of inflammatory rhetoric from elements in the Republican Party, who claim they really want minority outreach. In reality, we know they don’t. He issued a statement saying that his comments were “inarticulate” and he called Rep. Lee. Right. Um, this sounds as “inarticulate” as his claims about climbing 40 fourteeners in Colorado.
Listen to audio from Crew of 42: