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Another Week, Another Occurrence of Paul Ryan Being Offensive - Update

According to Congressman Ryan, men in inner cities - gosh, who could he be talking about? - have no work ethic.

"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.


UPDATE: Here's a great response from Jamelle Bouie

If the industrial cities of the Midwest and Northeast are heavily segregated—places like Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia—it's because they were made that way, through law, policy, and violence. Starved of public and private investment—from schools and libraries to home loans and business development—they collapsed into the same dysfunction we see whenever we isolate a community from general prosperity, and punish its members for trying to escape. And if—as conservatives routinely argue—the welfare state plays a role here, it's to deepen the problems, not cause them. You can't blame West Baltimore on AFDC.


But Ryan wants to. He wants to blame social programs for the problems of the inner city. He wants to blame "culture," the argument of men like Charles Murray, who believe in a black "pathology" that condemns urban communities to failure. What they fail to understand is that this, again, was built. For the better part of a century, the American system taught black children that their work was futile and their lives, meaningless. Black pathology was what this country wanted and black pathology is what it tried to engineer. That Ryan can look at the decay and decry the "generations of men" who need to learn the "value of work" is a testament to American success in marginalizing a whole class of people.

Of course, there's no such thing as "black pathology." Instead, there are humans doing the best they can with what they have. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's neither. And if Ryan would look closer at the communities he's trying to reach, he'd see countless people participating in the "culture of work." He doesn't have to look far, either. In Washington D.C., he could ride an 80 bus to the Capitol, early on a weekday morning. There, he'd be packed next to men and women coming from the other side of the city to work crappy jobs at long hours for the sake of their families. They don't need lectures about the "value of work"; they need material support for their livelihoods.

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