Real quick, read Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s piece on Jacobin.
Unlike Ryan, Obama has always coupled his condemnations of the black poor with quick nods to discrimination in the nation’s past, but the overwhelming emphasis is in sync with a broad and bipartisan agreement that a culture of poverty and lapsed personal responsibility are ultimately to blame for the disproportionate rates of African American poverty.
The reduction of the real issues confronting black and brown people in America’s inner cities to culture or an absence of “personal responsibility” is a well-worn trope in American politics. It is a logic that is deeply embedded in the more hopeful rhetoric of the American Dream and the false notion that hard work and “playing by the rules” can lead to success and financial fulfillment in our country.
I’ve written the same thought here, but by no means as effectively.