Code words and a poverty of intelligence


It started with Richard Sherman and his on-field remarks after the NFC championship game. Some called him a “thug” which was then labeled as a code word for the “n” word.

Now there’s another controversy involving “code words.”

This controversy began on Wednesday after Paul Ryan said on William Bennett’s talk radio show, “Morning in America,” that there was 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 of work.”

Representative Barbara Lee of California, extreme liberal and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Ryan’s remarks a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

“Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black’,” Lee said in a statement.

Um, really? You know what he “meant?” What, exactly, do you think? That he was just dissing black people? Really? Are you that ignorant?

I’ve put the section of the conversation at the bottom of this post. It’s also linked.

The next day, Ryan said he was “inarticulate.”

Now, Ryan should not have invoked Charles Murray, the Author of “The Bell Curve.” That irritated the left. Not a great move.  But, really?  Actually, I’m more concerned that fifteen of the poorest counties in America are rural and Ryan is talking about the inner city, but who’s going to start making sense now? Just in case you don’t understand the left, here’s one of their headlines, from, a liberal website. “Ryan Claims Black Men are Lazy and the Cause of Poverty in this Country.” Yes, this headline is the result of the above comments by Ryan. They are that stupid. You can read the rest of their trash linked below. I wouldn’t if I were you, but unfortunately, I already did.

Ryan later said that “I was not implicating the culture of one community, but of society as a whole,” Ryan said. “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.”

Undeterred, the left marched on:

On Wednesday, a man confronted Ryan in a Wisconsin town-hall meeting saying “You meant black.”

Representative Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Representative Gwen Moore, also from Wisconsin, sent Ryan a letter in which they called his talk radio remarks “highly offensive” and invited him to a meeting of the caucus to discuss ways to eradicate poverty.

Hey, Moore-Fudge, you really think that was “highly offensive?” Because he mentioned the inner city and culture? As a white politician, is he supposed to expressly point out that he’s not referring to  poor blacks? That he’s only interested in helping poor whites? I think not.

Ok, Lee-Moore-Fudge, what do you want him to say? If we’re going to have people always correcting other’s speech and assuming code-speech, why don’t you offer suggestions on what he’s allowed to say, or what he should say.

Have you heard any of Bill Cosby’s speeches? I’ll bet you hate those.

Perhaps Ryan should preface his comments with “Please be mindful, when I’m talking about the poor, I’m only referring to poor whites, not blacks. Poor blacks will have to be taken care of by Moore-Fudge.”

Ryan, why don’t you just concern yourself with the poor whites in all those rural counties? Oh, that’s right, that have black people too. Well, you know, you could always just say “screw the poor,” right? But that would probably be a code word for “I don’t care about black people.”

Moore-Fudge is not a code word for anything. I just thought those two names put together in that order was funny. It’s juvenile, I know. But it was fun.

Poor people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, geographic locations. You should quit making assumptions about what people mean. Engage in some meaningful conversation. When you invoke code words, you sound ignorant and racist.

By the way, Lee, when you say “Thinly veiled racial attack” I think that’s a code word for “I don’t like white people.”

Here’s the context of the conversation.

Bennett: We had a report yesterday, Paul, from the Pew (Research Center) people on the millennials. We’re setting records in terms of people not working. Part of it is the economy, part of it is policy. But there’s a cultural aspect to this, as well, right? Boys, particularly, learn how to work. Who teaches boys how to work? You lost your dad at an early age. Who taught you how to work?

Ryan: Mentors and my mom. My dad’s friends, his buddies taught me how to hunt and taught me a lot of things, and my mom. And so —

Bennett: Hunting is not working, is it?

Ryan: Well, no, but you can learn — by the way, you can teach your kids character in the woods. A lot of good life lessons are learned in a tree stand, Bill.

Bennett: You still haven’t sent me that ad, but I know. But the fatherless problem is a big one. This has something to do with people’s attitudes. I asked my boys the other day, you know my guys, what do you remember me saying most often? And of course, they gave me a bad time and said lately it is: “What’s that? What’d you just say?” Pretty funny, but they say: “Do your job, do your job.”

Ryan: I remember more my mom was: “Suck it up, deal with it, and tough.” Those are the things I remember her saying to me a lot.

Bennett: Suck it up, deal with it, tough – Betty Ryan. But I mean, a boy has to see a man working, doesn’t he?

Ryan: Absolutely. And so, that’s this tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities. You know your buddy (conservative scholar) Charles Murray or (public policy professor) Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this, which is 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’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with. Everybody’s got to get involved. So, this is what we talk about when we talk about civil society. If you’re driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown by these blighted neighborhoods, you can’t just say: I’m paying my taxes, government’s going to fix that. You need to get involved. You need to get involved yourself – whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is, to make a difference, and that’s how we help resuscitate our culture.

2 comments on “Code words and a poverty of intelligence

  1. JETSR says:

    Wow, pretty soon white people of any standing – poor, rich, etc will not be able to say anything without it being accusatory towards African Americans. It seems the intent is to silence those of thought and concern for America. What a strange time in our American history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s