New York Governor: Black Kids In Bronx Don’t Even Know What A Computer Is

New York Governor: Black Kids In Bronx Don’t Even Know What A Computer Is


New York Governor Kathy Hochul, photo via Instagram

In a recent public appearance, New York Governor Kathy Hochul made the controversial comment suggesting that Black children in the Bronx may be unfamiliar with computers. She later expressed regret for the remark, made during a discussion on expanding economic opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI).

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California, Governor Hochul, a Democrat, said, “Right now, we have young Black kids growing up in the Bronx who don’t even know what the word computer is. They don’t know, they don’t know these things.” While her intention seemed to be advocating for improved access to technology and economic opportunities, her choice of words drew immediate backlash, AP News reported.

State Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo said the remark was “harmful, deeply misinformed, and genuinely appalling.” However, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie came to Hochul’s defense, attributing her words to a lack of articulation rather than malice.

“While the governor’s words were inartful and hurtful, I don’t believe that is where her heart is. I firmly believe she wants to see all of our students excel,” Heastie said.

In response to the backlash, Governor Hochul issued a statement expressing regret for her words, acknowledging that Black children in the Bronx are indeed aware of computers but often lack access to them. She emphasized her commitment to addressing economic disparities and creating pathways to high-paying jobs, including those in emerging industries like AI.

In a statement later, Hochul said “I misspoke and I regret it.”

“Of course Black children in the Bronx know what computers are — the problem is that they too often lack access to the technology needed to get on track to high-paying jobs in emerging industries like AI,” Hochul said. “That’s why I’ve been focused on increasing economic opportunity since Day One of my Administration, and will continue that fight to ensure every New Yorker has a shot at a good-paying job.”

The timing of Hochul’s controversial remark coincides with the establishment of a reparations and racial justice commission in New York. Signed into law by Hochul, this commission is tasked with studying the legacy of slavery and its ongoing impact on communities of African descent. The commission aims to provide recommendations on addressing historical injustices and systemic discrimination.

“This commission acknowledges the horrific injustice of slavery and will be tasked with examining the legacy of slavery, subsequent discrimination against people of African descent, and the impact these forces continue to have in the present day,” a news release from Hochul’s office said, CNN reported.

The legislation will form a commission of nine members “who are especially qualified to serve by virtue of their expertise, education, training, or lived experience,” that will examine slavery “and its lingering negative effects on people currently living in the State of New York,” the statement continued.

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City emphasized the importance of studying reparations, highlighting the intergenerational wealth disparities rooted in slavery and historical injustices.

New York’s efforts to establish a reparations commission align with similar initiatives in other states, such as California, where a task force has proposed recommendations for compensating Black residents harmed by slavery and historical atrocities.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, photo via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/C6g5qaYPaZm/?hl=en&img_index=1