By TERREECE M. CLARKE
Paul Ryan caused a stir among African American news readers and liberal pundits when he lamented the poor’s apathy toward work. He pulled out the dog whistle for his far right conservative pals and did his best Ayn Rand impression:
“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,” Ryan said. “There is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
He said “inner city” and everyone nodded, knowing what he meant… he meant *looking left and right* *stage whisper* “black.”
Just red meat for the base, right? Not so fast.
Paul Ryan isn’t just talking about black men when he gnashes his teeth to the gods on why the poor can’t get motivated to become unpoor. There are other types of men who live in inner cities.
Latinos? Yep. Paul Ryan is also concerned about those inner city men too… well, he’s concerned about their lack of concern for the “dignity of work.” Let’s face it: when it comes to poverty, it’s a heavy brush Ryan uses to paint the brown.
If we zoom in on the full picture Ryan has created, we can see his true mastery. His use of light and shadows belie his seemingly clumsy attempts at shades of brown. Ryan’s work is a study in class that has little to do with shades of brown. Ryan’s statement is layered like the oils of old.
There is another type of inner city man Ryan thinks hasn’t learned the value of work: Poor. White. Men.
The funny thing about cities is, they aren’t just full of brown people. In fact there are cities throughout this great nation that have a very low number of minorities, but still have a sizable number of poor people who live inside the discarded inner rings. Men without jobs. Men without melanin. And guess what?
Paul Ryan doesn’t care about you either.
YOU are a part of the class that he speaks of; it’s the dog whistle within the dog whistle. The whistle that only the big dogs can hear and he’s signaling to them about policies that will affect classes of people. Race is unimportant.
While everyone is paying attention to the affront to minorities in his statement, they are missing his affront to the very base to which they assume he’s tossing the big juicy steak.
He cares about power and money, and his base is comprised of those who have them. Everyone else is eating sleeping pill laced ground chuck.
Terreece M. Clarke is a freelance writer/journalist for a variety of magazines, newspapers and websites. She is also a rockin’ mom of three and the rockin’ wife of David. Read more of her work at TerreeceClarke.com.