As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ably demonstrated, just because you don’t say “black” doesn’t mean we can’t hear it. On Tuesday night’s The Kelly File, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and host Megyn Kelly artfully avoided the word “black,” while expanding Ryan’s criticism of the black community to include “thuggishness” and a “sickness of spirit,” as well as an ability to tell right from wrong. They accomplished all of this while avoiding the word “black” like they’d lose “the game” if they actually said it.
Kelly asked Paul to comment on renewed calls for gun control after a deadly Easter weekend in Chicago.
“It’s more of a sickness of spirit than ownership of guns,” Paul shockingly replied. While he chalked some of the not-at-all-gun-related problems to mental illness, he added “There is also just a thuggishness that’s out of control that no longer knows right from wrong. It’s something maybe beyond government. It’s spiritual. People need to be taught right and wrong, there needs to be an influence in their lives and a police presence. It’s not as simple as banning guns. Because they have tried that in Chicago, and they have tried that in D.C. and frankly, it hasn’t worked.”
In case any Fox News viewers were still in the dark about who, exactly, Paul was referring to, Kelly followed up by saying that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has been “pressing the President to take a leadership role on this, on being a role model, and pushing for…(swallows)…um…(pauses)…community activism, and reach, uh, reaching out to inner-city youths, to try to set a good example, and to try to help with the right from wrong determination, and lift them up out of poverty so we don’t see this kind of thing. Your thoughts?”
Paul agreed, and said “It’s a complicated problem. It involves poverty, unemployment, it also involves lack parental guidance, church guidance, pastoral guidance.”
Set aside Paul’s debunked assertions about local gun control (19% most of the crime guns recovered in Chicago are from the same store, just outside the city). Paul’s critique is essentially a deeper version of Ryan’s, encompassing the “thug” culture while adding a spiritual dimension, as well as a tendency toward sociopathy. According to Kelly, this “community” just needs their President to instruct them on the difference between right and wrong. And also, to lift them up out of poverty.
The problem here isn’t simply that Kelly and Paul are talking about the black community, it’s what they’re saying about it.