Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear Liberals (and Paul Ryan): 'Inner City' Is Code Like 'Ack-Blay' Is Code

Which is to say, it isn't code at all. Rep. Paul Ryan has been catching hell for remarks he made last week regarding "inner city" men and their "culture," remarks that he later called "inarticulate," but which he continues to insist had "nothing to do with race."

While conservatives have predictably come to Ryan's defense, it is liberals who have done the most damage in abetting Ryan's flight from media accountability. They've accomplished this, first, by referring to Ryan's "inner city" euphemism as "code," which gives your down-the-middle media types an out in holding Ryan's feet to the fire. It isn't code, any more than "synonym" is code for "thing that means the same thing." If you dispute this, take it up with these flaming liberals, like Fox News' Chris Wallace:

Or how about notably Pavlovian liberal Bill O'Reilly:

So, when liberals concede that this is "code," even a poorly-concealed one, they relieve othrs in the media of the responsibility to follow up on it, people like Wolf Blitzer, who recently demonstrated just how effectively an ostensibly non-partisan journalist can move the needle on an issue like this.

The second way liberals are helping Paul Ryan out is by swallowing their defense that Obama did it, too. I've seen this in a lot of places, but first on last Wednesday's All In, when conservative columnist Robert George repeatedly made the point that "just a week or so ago, the president was also making the same link between opportunity and culture," to agreement from host Chris Hayes. This is the kind of thing that liberals let pass in order to be good sports, or to move along to whatever they think is the real point, without realizing that they are losing the argument right there. There is no comparison between what the President said in his Feb. 27 speech, in which he talked about addressing racial disparities through the "My Brother's Keeper" program.

Far from blaming those disparities on a "culture" in the black community, the President spoke about "groups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions; groups who’ve seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations. And by almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color."

 To compare Ryan's remarks with the President's is like defending Jesse Helms by saying "Yeah, but Martin Luther King also talked about race all the time!"

Instead of partially conceding this idiotic defense, liberals ought to be pointing out that it completely refutes Ryan's later protestations that his remarks "had nothing to do with race."

Both things can't be true. Either Ryan's remarks had nothing to do with race, or they were okay because President Obama also talks about race.

Ryan's remarks were definitely about race, but as that town hall attendee pointed out, that's not why they were wrong. They were wrong because, instead of identifying racial disparities in order to solve them, Ryan identifies them in order to blame them on an inferior culture, which is RAF™ like a mofo, and is just plain wrong. Poor people work very hard, for very little, and the ones who don't work, the ones in those black unemployment statistics that conservatives cite in their totally non-racial argument, aren't exactly turning down work from all those desperate-to-hire job creators in Detroit. People don't become poor because their families disintegrate, families disintegrate because they are poor. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Am I saying that Paul Ryan is a racist? No, what I am saying about Paul Ryan has absolutely nothing to do with him being a racist. It has to do with Paul Ryan saying something racist as fuck, wishing that he hadn't, and trying to worm his way out of it. Liberals should not be helping him.

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