03.13.14

Paul Ryan insists his ‘inarticulate’ comments about ‘inner city’ men were not about race

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.