Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan recently sparked debates over remarks that he made in 2005 regarding an alleged commonality between his brother's wife and his own college sweetheart.
- (Photo: Reuters/Jose Luis Magana)
CNN's Pete Hamby recently tweeted a statement previously made by Ryan, 42, during an interview with Milwaukee magazine in which he explained that his college sweetheart was African-American.
"Paul Ryan to Milwaukee Magazine in 2005: "I have a sister-in-law who's African American. My college sweetheart was black"," Hamby tweeted on Aug 13.
The statement was tweeted just two days after Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, announced Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate. This occurred around the same time that Americans began questioning who exactly Ryan is and what his policies are.
While some critics charge that Ryan's words were taken out of context and that his comment is irrelevant today, the statement prompted a piece from TheRoot.com's Keli Goff entitled "Does Paul Ryan's Black Ex-Girlfriend Matter?"
In the piece, Goff, a political correspondent, questions exactly that: "Is the fact that Ryan has dated interracially a noteworthy detail to consider when analyzing his politics and policies?"
Some critics believe that Ryan's dating history demonstrates that he is more inclined to take into account the best interest of African American community when forming his policies, although Goff disagreed.
"Certainly, having a relationship with someone of a different race does not automatically make someone more racially sensitive and enlightened," she wrote.
Ryan, a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin's first district, recently commended Americans for voting in the country's first ever African American president during a rally. He said that while the U.S. was able to make history by voting beyond racial lines, President Barack Obama's policies had essentially failed the American people, which is what ultimately matters.
Goff somewhat agrees with Ryan, and explained that the American people should remain focused on policies in order to truly grasp the values of the person that they ultimately vote for.
"I am saying, however, that if you want to know where a politician's heart lies when it comes to a particular community, it may be best to look at that person's policies- such as his or her record on civil rights- rather than personal relationships," Goff wrote.