California Representative Barbara Lee responded to Representative Paul Ryan’s Wednesday remarks lambasting “inner city” men for not “learning the value or culture of work.” Her message: we know whom you’re talking about, Mr. Ryan.
In a statement, Representative Lee called out the Wisconsincongressman for invoking dog-whistle politics to support work requirements for benefits. She did not hold back.
“My colleague Congressman Ryan’s comments about ‘inner city’ poverty are a thinly veiled racial attack and cannot be tolerated,” Lee said. “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.’”
Representative Lee added, “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.”
Representative Ryan made his controversial remarks on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show. Responding to a question about the “fatherless problem” in poor neighborhoods, Ryan said, “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 the value and the culture of work.”