Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia Fudge is unabashedly holding Rep. Paul Ryan’s feet to the fire. It’s a welcomed move by a formidable leader on Capitol Hill. Fudge deserves our support — and praise.
“If he wants to believe that the only way to cure poverty is to just get rid of all the poor people, then he has another thing coming,” Fudge said last week during a television appearance on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton.
Fudge, a Democrat from Ohio, sent a letter to Ryan last week inviting Ryan to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus after his racially inflammatory remarks about poverty and “inner cities.”
“As members of the Congressional Black Caucus, we were deeply troubled by your recent remarks on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America show where you stated that there is a ‘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,’ ” Fudge wrote in her letter to Ryan.“Your comments were highly offensive.”
Ryan, an ultra-conservative Republican from Wisconsin, has agreed to meet with black legislators on April 30 to explain his racially-insensitive comments. Two weeks ago, Ryan, the 2012 GOP nominee for Vice-President, appeared on conservative Bennett’s show and 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, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
Many black legislators and civil rights activists believed Ryan’s comments were code words to characterize African American men as lazy, but Ryan now claims his remarks were “inarticulate” and had nothing to do with race.
“We need to really realize a lot of people don’t really get it,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said on MSNBC last week. “When you talk in the way he has talked, we have to remember that race is still a factor in America.”
And here’s the most significant point: Ryan is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and oversees a fiscal plan for all Americans but seemingly believes that African-American men don’t want to work. But Ryan didn’t stop there. He cited the work of Charles Murray — author of the controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve, which argues that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites because of genetics.
So how does Ryan’s warped thinking about black men impact his budget decisions?