Paul Ryan attempted to walk back Wednesday’s comment in which described a “culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working, and just generations of men not even thinking about working and learning the value and culture of work.”
In a statement issued to ThinkProgress, Ryan insisted that his comment wasn’t “a thinly veiled racial attack,” as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, characterized it.
“It is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make,” Ryan said in the statement. “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.”
Ryan told a blogger from Crew of 42 that his initial comments had “nothing to do whatsoever with race.”
They were “taken out of context — it was, that was — out of left field — out of context.”
“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,” he insisted.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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