Representative Paul Ryan was on William Bennett’s radio talk show on Wednesday to address poverty in the inner city, as an “outreach” Republican is wont to do when he feels like doing something useless.
Ryan said that there was a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which only allows members of the perpetually aggrieved community into their circle, got together and decided, “Yep, that’s racist.”
California Rep. Barbara Lee in particular called it a “thinly veiled racial attack.” She even demonstrated her mind-reading skills: “Let’s be clear,” she said, “when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black.'”
Let’s be clear: no he didn’t. Conservatives, especially high-profilers like Ryan, are neither deep enough nor courageous enough to even countenance that the problem is with black people. It doesn’t cross their minds. We’re all equal, they believe, and it’s merely the government’s actions that have caused black people–somehow almost exclusively black people–to live as they do.
It’s what Ryan inaccurately believes, along with his fellow travelers, so it just makes no sense to honor him or them with the label “racist.”
If Ryan had been talking specifically about black people, why would that have been a big deal? Would it have been inaccurate of him? The largest unemployment rate is found in the black demographic, particularly in the “inner city.” I don’t care how “racist” that is to say, it is accurate.
And as for the word “culture” that Lee complains about, how is a lack of any work ethic not a general (definition #5) attribute of black-American culture? Are we really pretending we don’t notice that most of them are—let me put this as delicately as possible–averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion? Even my friend LaKesha—you know what race she is–acknowledges this as a general fact (she’s one of the exceptions to the rule).
Ryan, in standard conservative fashion, has cowered to the accusations and explained himself, thus legitimizing the word “racist” as an effective insult. “I was not implicating the culture of one community, but of society as a whole,” he said, as if every culture in America creates poverty wherever they reside in large numbers. “We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities.” Great idea, let’s integrate poor people into areas they can’t afford to live! Huzzah!
And on Friday he met with the CBC “to discuss” ways to eradicate poverty, which, to borrow from Barbara Lee, is a thinly veiled codeword for “to castrate oneself before one’s masters.”
You’re whipped, Ryan.