Condemn Congressman’s Racist Statements on Poverty


Target: Paul Ryan, United States Representative and Chairman of the House Budget Committee

Goal: Demand that the Congressman stop blaming low-income people of color for the nation’s struggling economy

United States Representative Paul Ryan has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. Public remarks he made in March show he hasn’t lost his touch. Discussing the causes of poverty in America Ryan claimed that “in our inner cities in particular…generations of men not even thinking about working” are largely to blame. He referenced “white nationalist” and author Charles Murray who wrote in The Bell Curve that the inferior intelligence of Black people is to blame for their social disadvantages.

As a leading policymaker and author of the House majority budget Ryan has a responsibility to commit himself to social justice. He has consistently chosen instead to fault poor people for poverty and to use loaded terms like “inner city” to disparage people of color. His fiscal policies are equally out of touch, perhaps because they are so grounded in pseudo-science. His most recent budget proposal would lower corporate tax rates, cut Pell Grants for low-income students, increase work requirements for recipients of food aid and cut thousands of federal jobs. The public sector employs more Black workers than any other industry, often with higher pay.

The congressman seems intent only on benefiting corporations at the expense of average Americans. Condemn Representative Ryan’s blatantly racist remarks, and demand that he end his attack on people of color.


Dear Representative Ryan,

The public backlash continues following statements you made in March which can only be classified as ignorant and racist. That you blame inner city men for their poverty, and that of the nation, is frightening considering your position as a policy maker. When you cited debunked political scientist Charles Murray you left little doubt as to the extent of your racial bias. Using the term “inner city” instead of people of color didn’t fool anyone.

Journalist Bree Carlson wrote a scathing indictment in her article for Common Dreams, concluding that “Rep. Ryan will continue to craft budget and policy solutions that reduce the problem of structural racism to ‘inner city’ laziness, allowing him to strip resources from cities and from the unemployed while he continues to give away billions to CEO’s and Wall Street Corporations.” These fiscal policies reek of victim blaming and cannot possibly strengthen the United States’ economy.

Representative Ryan, the American public cannot abide such backwards thinking in the nation’s political leadership. I must insist that you cease your attack on people of color and stop using Black men as the scapegoats for the Recession your polities continue to prolong.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: via Flickr

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