Adapted from an article by DAVID SIROTA

Code words are politicians’ stock in trade. As Republican strategist Lee Atwater famously admitted, that’s especially true when it comes to racially coded rhetoric about economics. Terms like “welfare queen” are obvious examples, and the word “culture” when specifically invoked in discussions of urban poverty can be as well. Sometimes this kind of rhetoric is carefully coded, other times it isn’t.

But what about the term “inner city”? Is that the same kind of dog whistle bigotry that attempts to equate African American heritage with laziness and self-inflicted economic failure?

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called Ryan’s remark “deeply offensive”..

“My colleague Congressman Ryan’s comments about ‘inner city’ poverty are a thinly veiled racial attack and cannot be tolerated,” Lee said in an email to reporters. “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black.’”

This is the question raised today by Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) – and Google seems to offer some relevant data in response.