UNITED STATES NEWS

New York governor regrets saying Black kids in the Bronx don’t know what a computer is

May 7, 2024, 7:31 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says she regrets making an offhand remark that suggested Black children in the Bronx do not know what the word “computer” means.

Hochul, a Democrat, made the extemporaneous comment Monday while being interviewed at a large business conference in California to discuss expanding economic opportunities in artificial intelligence for low-income communities.

“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 while on stage at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

The remark was not addressed during the interview and the governor went on to explain that her goal is to provide avenues for communities of color to access emerging artificial intelligence technologies as a means to address social inequality.

Still, the gaff drew immediate criticism from some political leaders in New York, including state Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo, a Bronx Democrat, who said the remark was “harmful, deeply misinformed, and genuinely appalling.”

In a statement later Monday, 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.”

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat who represents the Bronx in the Legislature, came to Hochul’s defense as her remarks began to gain traction online.

“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.

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New York governor regrets saying Black kids in the Bronx don’t know what a computer is