Paul Ryan: I Didn’t Say That Thing I Said

PathtoPoverty

Speaking to Crew of 42, Paul Ryan stood by the poor-shaming portion of his ‘inner city men are lazy’ line, but he adamantly denied that this has anything to do with race.

In fact, Ryan says this has nothing to do with the inner city. It’s about rural areas. Really?

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

“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. This has nothing to do with race,” Ryan continued to explained as he walked.

I think he’s trying to tell us this has nothing to do with race. I think he’s trying tell us so hard he may have been sweating when he said it.

I don’t buy it.

When Ryan “went off” on lazy inner city men he referenced the work of Charles Murray, saying “Charles Murray or Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this.” Indeed they have.

Charles Murray is a white nationalist and eugenicist who argues that poverty is caused by genetic flaws among minorities.

“Try to imagine a … presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, ‘One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.’ You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.”
—“Deeper Into the Brain,” National Review, 2000

More from the Southern Poverty Law Center

According to Murray, disadvantaged groups are disadvantaged because, on average, they cannot compete with white men, who are intellectually, psychologically and morally superior. Murray advocates the total elimination of the welfare state, affirmative action and the Department of Education, arguing that public policy cannot overcome the innate deficiencies that cause unequal social and educational outcomes.

From one of Murray’s fine books on those lazy inner city men.

The professional consensus is that the United States has experienced dysgenic pressures throughout either most of the century (the optimists) or all of the century (the pessimists). Women of all races and ethnic groups follow this pattern in similar fashion. There is some evidence that blacks and Latinos are experiencing even more severe dysgenic pressures than whites, which could lead to further divergence between whites and other groups in future generations.”
—The Bell Curve, 1994

Is it easier to believe that Ryan accidentally spoke in code and ranted about those lazy inner city men, or that he knew exactly what he was saying and he momentarily forgot he was speaking publicly?

‘Inner city men are lazy’ is cut from the same cloth as ‘the 47 percent.’ They’re arguments used to justify inequality and shield one’s self from the responsibility of doing something about it. They make it easier to look at yourself in the mirror.

The unfortunate thing for Ryan is there is very little reason to believe him when he claims his comments had nothing to do with race. His policy proposals would have and will have sweeping negatives effects on minority communities.

(ThinkProgress, Southern Poverty Law Center)

Update… Ryan has issued a statement:

After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make. I was not implicating the culture of one community—but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity. I also believe the government’s response has inadvertently created a poverty trap that builds barriers to work. A stable, good-paying job is the best bridge out of poverty.

The broader point I was trying to make is that we cannot settle for this status quo and that government and families have to do more and rethink our approach to fighting poverty. I have witnessed amazing people fighting against great odds with impressive success in poor communities. We can learn so much from them, and that is where this conversation should begin.

It’s not that our message is garbage, it’s just that we haven’t communicated it properly.

What part of Charles Murray is inarticulate?

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  • Christopher Foxx


    This has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me.

    Of course not. The racism is that ingrained.

  • Christopher Foxx


    “Try to imagine a … presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, ‘One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.’ You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.”

    Stating an opinion (“people are born lazy”) implies that science will find a particular fact that will prove that opinion to be “certainly” true?

    Really?

    OK, can I play? “One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that Paul Ryan is sociopath and racist determined to harm as many people as possible.” Now you cannot imagine a President saying that. But this unimaginable statement means that Ryan being a serial killer is certainly true.

  • muselet

    “This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.”

    From MSNBC:

    “We have got this 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 to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said.

    “In our inner cities in particular.” But this is not about race, nosiree. Nope, it’s about “the culture.” And the “breakdown of the family.” And “rural poverty in rural areas,” whatever that’s meant to mean.

    After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make.

    No, Mr Ryan, you were actually quite articulate on the point. Your … oh, what are we supposed to call it? … clarification is so rambling and inarticulate that Sarah Palin is shaking her head in dismay.

    As Charlie Pierce often observes, it’s not about race because it’s never about race.

    –alopecia

  • Nefercat

    “After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make.”
    —————————————————-
    Don’t be so hard on yourself, asshole. You were very articulate and we understood your point perfectly well.

    Now why don’t you run along and oh, I don’t know, yank the arm off of a poor child so you can play fetch with your dog?

  • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

    People, people, people. It’s as clear as his clarifcation: rural areas are poor because there are no jobs. “Urban” areas are poor because there’s no culture of work. What’s not to get?
    Douchecanoe.

  • Sean Richardson

    “We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities.”

    This sounds an awful lot like he’s advocating for high-risk housing loans to low-income people, doesn’t it?

  • WiscoJoe

    For a guy that regularly gets caught being ‘inarticulate,’ or not properly vetting his sources, or citing discredited research, or completely misinterpreting the research of experts- and that was all just in the past week alone!- Paul Ryan sure gets treated like some sort of serious intellectual powerhouse among Republicans.

    Bigotry of low expectations? Culture of intellectual laziness?

  • mdblanche

    Well, the first thing I think of when I hear the words “inner cities” is rural areas. But I guess that’s just me and Paul Ryan.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate…

    Right there is all you need to know about Paul Ryan’s thinking process, or lack thereof.