The clean-cut, VP candidate that Romney thought would be good at crunching numbers and keeping his mouth shut seems to be growing closer and closer to a Y-chromosomed version of 2008 Sarah Palin every day.
On Monday, Paul Ryan illuminated the real reason that some U.S. inner city areas are posting murder rates higher than Kabul’s and Mexico City’s. Public school systems buckling under the weight of austerity cuts and useless teacher tracking programs? Nope. Poverty and unemployment caused by a capitalist system hell-bent on exporting every available job overseas? Nope. A lack of gun control that allows firearms to find their way into the hands of young children? Definitely not.
The real reason, Ryan asserted in an interview with a local Michigan reporter, is the “character” of those living in inner city neighborhoods.
“The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character,” Ryan said.
In other words, it’s the immoral and inferior culture of inner city (read: minority) neighborhoods that creating all this crime downtown, which is a disaster for the upstanding (read: white) citizens from the suburbs who just want to enjoy a basketball game at the stadium every once in a while.
OK, perhaps the last part was an editorialization of his statement, but the racial undertones of his words are undeniable. The idea feeds into the well-developed propaganda about the “culture of poverty,” the idea, first pushed under Reagan, that the inferior ethics of the inner city is what keeps its residents impoverished.
This theory entirely disregards chronic unemployment, failing schools, institutional racism, political disenfranchisement and the dozens of other structural forces that create chaos and crime in swaths of the country that capitalism has effectively abandoned. To hear such a dangerously misinformed statement coming out of the mouth of a vice presidential candidate less than a month before the election is terrifying.
Then again, it should come as no surprised in what has been one of the most racialized election season in recent history. From the President’s birth certificate to the controversy over “Obama phones,” from Romney’s disparaging comments about the 47% to Gingrich’s suggestion that janitors in inner city schools be replaced by nine-year-old students, both the fringe and the heart of the GOP has been spewing thinly-veiled, blame-the-victim criticisms of African Americans left and right. (It’s also an offensive they’ve used against another large percentage of the American population–women–throughout the election season, but that’s another story.)
Wed, 10/10/2012 – 10:54