Hochul Walks Back Claim that Black Kids in the Bronx Don’t Know What a Computer Is

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(Headline USA) New York Gov. Kathy Hochul claimed this week that she “misspoke” when she said there were black kids in the Bronx who didn’t know what the word “computer” meant.

Hochul made the comment during an address at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on Monday, the New York Times reported. 

She started by praising her administration’s efforts to invest in new technology for “researchers” and “college students” in New York, specifically citing the state’s $400 million “Empire AI” initiative.

“It’s sort of our attitude: We will be the best. We will be the first,” Hochul said.

“And I want others to follow,” she continued. “Because, 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.”

Hochul said she wanted to open “the world” to them “because when you have their diverse voices innovating solutions through technology, then you’re really addressing society’s broader challenges.”

Bronx leaders immediately blasted Hochul for insulting their community.

“Deeply disturbed by [Hochul’s] recent remarks and the underlying perception that she has of Black and brown children from [the Bronx],” tweeted New York State Assembly Member Karines Reyes. “Our children are bright, brilliant, extremely capable, and more than deserving of any opportunities that are extended to other kids. Do better.”

Fellow Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. agreed, arguing Hochul’s comments indicate a “deeply concerning” bias on her part.

“I’m deeply troubled by the recent statements made by [Hochul],” he said in a statement. “The underlying perception conveyed about Black and brown children from the Bronx is not only disheartening but also deeply concerning.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment.

Hochul responded to the backlash on Tuesday, saying she regretted making the comment.

“Of course black children in the Bronx know what computers are,” she said. “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.”

The comment echoed a casually racist gaffe made by President Joe Biden himself shortly after becoming president, when he suggested that black and brown people lacked the basic knowledge on how to use the internet—and was subsequently ridiculed for it.

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