Can We Just Cut the Post-Racism Crap Right Now?

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Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the editors of The Wall Street Journal came up with a snippy, little “both sides do it” apologia for Paul Ryan’s recent “inarticulate” exploration of “inner city culture.”

Oh my, where do I begin . . . how about the first sentence?

A week later, and liberals are still lining up to assail Paul Ryan’s “racism.” The episode is worth noting not because Mr. Ryan said anything wrong, but because of what it shows about the political habits of today’s elected and media left.

Well! that obsessive “elected and media left” just won’t quit distracting the “elected right” from mounting it’s 52nd attempt to Repeal Obamacare, or its important effort to assign a special prosecutor to teach Lois Lerner a lesson about Liberty.

Seriously, WSJ eds?

Of course, Ryan said something “wrong” because what he said is simplistic and, whether “the elected and media right” like it or not, what he said is highly prejudicial.  Tagging chronic poverty as a cultural failure leaves out at least half of the equation.  Poverty is, after all, first and foremost, an economic condition and not one that many humans wish upon themselves.  Poverty is the result of a complex of interacting social and environmental factors, rather than a predictable outcome of character flaws.  There are plenty of flawed characters pounding the pavements of Wall Street in Gucci loafers, as we speak.  ‘Splain that.

Moreover, a belief that persuading the poor to take on more responsibility will magically make great job opportunities flood back into the inner city poor is simply naive.  Cultural fortitude alone cannot rebuild the broken down social organization, substandard schools, services, housing and health care available to the very poor that took decades for “outside the city culture” to dismantle.  Social amenities follow investment, jobs, success and wealth—exactly those things missing in the inner city . . .  the very things that have been deliberately and systematically stripped away from the inner city—and not by the people who live there.

As a matter of fact, one could conceivably look upon the highly organized and self-policed drug businesses that exist in our inner cities as enterprising and innovative use of the meager, albeit illegal options at hand to survive a very cruel and inescapable life that most of us can’t begin to imagine.  Very few little children dream of becoming drug lords or gang-bangers until it becomes clear to them that there lies survival.

But this is, after all The Wall Street Journal whose thought leadership job is much bigger than simply mopping up after inarticulate bubble boys.  So, bring on the incisive analysis, trying hard not to snark, because it is so totally obvious that the “elected and media left” will be forced to admit their utter defeat when WSJ calls their star witness—President Barrack Hussein Obama, saying the exact same racist stuff about his own race.

Take this, lefties:

We know young black men are twice as likely as young white men to be ‘disconnected’—not in school, not working. We’ve got to reconnect them. We’ve got to give more of these young men access to mentors. We’ve got to continue to encourage responsible fatherhood. We’ve got to
provide more pathways to apply to college or find a job. We can keep them from falling through the cracks.

Well played Wall Street Journal editors, please feel free to indulge in a schadenfreude-tinted moment . . .

No less than Mr. Ryan, Mr. Obama sure sounded like he was talking about “a cultural problem.” He didn’t mention “inner cities,” but his entire White House initiative is geared to helping young minority men, not whites. The President even concluded with an ode to self-reliance that Mr. Ryan might have considered a little too lacking in nuance: “Government cannot play the only—or even the primary—role. . . . It’s ultimately going to be up to these young men and all the young men who are out there to step up and seize responsibility for their own lives.

But then, of course, too much schadenfreude can be addicting:

So even though Mr. Ryan never mentioned race, liberals attacked his off-the-cuff remarks as racist while the President’s moral lecture was hardly noticed. Republicans are accused of racism if they ignore the least fortunate, and now they’re racist for taking poverty and its causes seriously. Unless you unreservedly favor the welfare status quo, or used to be a community organizer, the left gets you coming and going.

The attacks on Mr. Ryan are one more example of the politics of personal vilification that typifies the left these days. Its policies were supposed to reduce inequality, but instead the income gap is widening. They were supposed to lift people out of poverty, but poverty has increased.

So the last thing they can tolerate is a conservative like Mr. Ryan who is looking for better solutions and using a moral language of opportunity and upward mobility that could appeal to Americans of all incomes and backgrounds. Liberals have to smear conservatives personally because they know they’re losing on the merits.

Nice try, fellas.  But you know, and I know and they know that we know comparing what Ryan and Obama said is a big fat false equivalency.  And if you somehow don’t know that? then you have no business running a communications empire.

The “politics of personal vilification that typifies the left these days” oh jeez Louise!  Can you say Benghazi!1!?  Can you say Stalinist Socialist Kenyan Muslim usurper?  Do you guys have to get stoned to get these thoughts on paper?

For the record, Paul Ryan is not saying the same thing that President Obama is saying.  For starters, Obama is not consulting with Charles Murray, a white supremacist, on how best to attack the cycle of poverty. 

And before I’m forced to listen to a lusty defense of Charles Murray’s important sociological contributions, I must warn everyone that no one will ever convince me that a man who writes that blacks and Latinos have lower IQs than Asians and whites or that lower IQ means those groups are prone to crime and not availing themselves of an education, thereby having lots more illegitimate, lower IQ babies and living in poverty, ergo there’s not much that can be done to help those groups rise—is not a racist.

Obama knows that the “cycle of poverty” and nihilism that plague “inner city” areas did not just crop up yesterday while folks were stretching out in their “hammocks” or stumbling into “poverty traps.” 

It had to be planted and carefully nurtured for decades of Social Security exclusions for menial service work, FHA red-lining, city rezoning to prevent residential building or rebuilding, being priced out of rentals by Urban Renewal projects, industrial flight from cities, segregation, limited access to decent education and health care.

It took a long, long time for the despair and hopelessness of being trapped in a ghetto with no good choices and no way out to result in the despair of the inner city that we see today.  And make no mistake, to 98% of Americans the phrase “inner city,” in 2014 means black.  Just like the “urban vote” that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talked about so frequently in 2012, meant “minority” voters.

Paul Ryan obviously doesn’t have the ghost of an idea how things really got this way. 

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 specifically says that this is a “culture” problem “in our inner cities in particular.”  Well, Paul, this tailspin has been going on for some 60 years now, including the fourteen-odd years that you have held office.  Suddenly, with an election coming up, you’re going to solve it? 

I doubt that Ryan has done much more than brush the surface of the historical sociological record of poverty and urban decay in the US.  Or the prolonged systemic dysfunction that feeds that “downward spiral” that he noticed but mislabeled as “cultural.” And, frankly, Ryan doesn’t appear to be too interested in learning much about actually solving such problems or he would realize, by now, that 90% of his Big Policy Ideas would only serve to make things immeasurably worse for the people he’s pretending to care so much about.

WSJ dismisses Ryan’s comments as “off the cuff,” implying that, had he had more time to prepare his comments, they might have sounded less “racist.”

But Ryan has been making similar comments for years. In Ryan’s mind, social welfare programs have become a “hammock” too comfortable to get out of to actually work.  He has worried about a social “tipping point” where “takers” outnumber “makers” and who will be politically motivated to vote for whoever offers the best benefits.  He would take an ax to social spending projects because he fears that they “lull able bodied people into lives of dependency.”

On the other hand, WSJ editors, you could be right.  Maybe Paul Ryan isn’t necessarily racist, maybe he’s just not very smart or thorough or objective enough to be writing laws for the rest of us.

Whichever it is, I wouldn’t vote for the guy.


********************UPDATE*****************

Well, now, this should help.  The Ryan Budget is back.

 

 

Posted by Bette Noir on 03/21/14 at 03:47 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaElection '14Election '16Paul Ryan

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The problems in the inner cities is due to white culture, not black culture… namely prejudice in hiring, a legacy of not paying workers of African descent, and a knack for torching successful black-owned businesses (with the most insane example of the last being the wholesale torching of the Tulsa neighborhood once known as “Black Wall Street”.

Ryan conveniently forgets all of this.

One big difference between Ryan and the president is that of audience: Obama was speaking openly about young black men to young black men, while Ryan was speaking about “inner city” men to whoever Bill Bennett’s morning radio listeners are, I assume elderly white suburban men with tax issues. Thus even if the content seems similar (and I thought Ryan was denying that he had blacks in mind) the message is entirely different. Obama may come across as Cosbyish but there’s no question that he is a role model for the people he’s talking to and entitled to give them a lecture; Ryan is telling the perpetrators of the crime (withholding essential government services to avoid taxation) that it’s really the victims’ fault. When he addressed an audience in Racine with some African Americans in it, coward that he is, he just denied saying what he had said: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2014/03/20/3416789/pa ul-ryan-inner-city-town-hall/

. . . even if the content seems similar (and I thought Ryan was denying that he had blacks in mind) the message is entirely different. Obama may come across as Cosbyish but there’s no question that he is a role model for the people he’s talking to and entitled to give them a lecture; Ryan is telling the perpetrators of the crime (withholding essential government services to avoid taxation) that it’s really the victims’ fault.

@Yastreblyansky that hits the nail on the head for me - similar words is one thing, intent, background and import are altogether different matters and I don’t believe they should be separated.

Noticed you were over reading Jelani Cobb @ New Yorker—another thought-provoking viewpoint.  Also the article that Cobb cited by Ta-Nehisi Coates @ Atlantic is good.

The racist stuff is certainly being used to fire up their base, and I sincerely hope that this tactic fires up OUR base, especially the folks who tend to sit out mid-terms.

Ryan really is a coward who immediately equivocates as soon as he’s called on his BS, but the beltway love, love, loves him.  Who can blame the 30’s and younger set for ignoring traditional media?

While Lil’ Paulie frat-rat genuinely doesn’t give a rodent’s rectum for any population failing the paper bag test, he is, at least, consistent - he doesn’t particularly care about most people who pass the Hellmann’s Filter either. He was perfectly happy to let the City of Beloit cease to exist as a governed entity, and he didn’t lift a finely chiseled abdominal to save GM in Janesville.

The only test jus’folks need to pass the receive finely chiseled fellati-ingus from the first congressman to climb every 14’er in the world in under three hours is the needle-test. If you can pass through the eye, you don’t get to hang out at Paulie’s P90 party.

This goofy looking, smirking, motherfucker is simply learning to hand-pick his audience and avoid unguarded moments. Meet the Press and Beefeater Peggy ain’tn’t known for going off- script.

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