After making what many in the black community deemed racially insensitive comments last month, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is scheduled to meet later this week with the Congressional Black Caucus.
According to NBC News, the meeting is ostensibly about the issue of poverty. But Ryan also will have to clear up comments he made last month that critics said teetered against long-held stereotypes about black men having a nonexistent work ethic.
During an appearance on the Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show in March, Ryan said that there is 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 to value the culture of work.”
The CBC condemned Ryan’s comments, with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., calling them “a thinly veiled racial attack [that] cannot be tolerated.”
Lee and Ryan spoke later by phone, and he said that he had been “inarticulate” during his radio interview.
And when confronted about the comments being an attack against people of color at a town hall in Racine, Wis., Ryan said, “There was nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all, it had nothing to do with race. Sometimes when you’re on the radio you try to take a bunch of ideas and collapse it into a couple sentences and you oversimplify, and it can be misinterpreted, that’s what’s happened here.”
The CBC plans on using this week’s meeting to introduce some new ideas, NBC News reports.
“Congressman Ryan is a nice guy, and as such you know he has tried to frame the comments that he made about inner city folk as just sort of an inarticulate way of communicating,” CBC member Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., told reporters. “We want to challenge his assumptions about that and really raise with him a couple of very specific proposals.”
“We are happy that Representative Ryan wants to engage in this conversation, and we’re not going to let him get away with sort of a sleight of hand on this,” she said. “We know how to crunch numbers as well.”
Read more at NBC News .