NY Gov. Hochul Under Fire For Saying Black Kids ‘Don’t Even Know What The Word Computer Means’

Gov. Kathy Hochul is pictured at the Northeast Bronx YMCA on June 6, 2022, in New York City. | Source: Michael M. Santiago / Getty

Here’s the problem: There are a lot of white people, probably most, who simply don’t know anything about Black people. Maybe this is because white people still, by a fairly wide margin, have the lowest percentage of interracial social groups. Maybe it’s because, in America, they’re more than 60% of the population, which means many of them don’t come across non-white people on a day-to-day basis, and because Black people represent roughly 13%, the only time many of them see us is on the TV screen, where they’re more likely to see stereotypes and dense representation of Black life instead of seeing us fairly represented in all of our cultural and social diversity. Whatever the reason is, white folks simply don’t know much about us so when they speak on us, especially when they’re trying to relate to us, they just end up saying the dumbest, most ignorant and racist thing imaginable.

Take New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, for example. Now, I don’t know what the racial makeup of Hochul’s social networks looks like, but she made a comment recently that leads me to believe her circle is of the raisins in potato salad persuasion.

While being interviewed by a Black journalist, who should’ve checked her on that ignorant comment, the governor of NY states young Black kids don’t know what the word computer is?

Talk about bigotry of low expectations. SMH

Time stamp: 0:34 pic.twitter.com/TacxPpNkaO

— Shermichael Singleton (@MrShermichael) May 7, 2024

“Right now we have, you know, 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,” she said while speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on Monday, according to Mediaite.

Now, to be fair, up until that point, Hochul was discussing something that sounded like it might be progressive and impactful in terms of bringing opportunities to underserved communities in the form of high-tech jobs, particularly in A.I., which was the topic for the event.

“Now what we have is the money to build a phenomenal supercomputer that is gonna be accessible to the researchers in New York, college students, will attract more federal grants, and this is how we lay down the mark,” she said. “No state has done this. In fact, I talk to a lot of other people who say, ‘I wish my governor had thought of that first.’ I say, ‘No no, this is New York. We like to be first,’ with all due respect to you from other states. It’s sort of our attitude. We will be the best, we will be the first, and I want others to follow…”

Aaaaand that’s where she should have stopped.

Hochul was doing fine. She showed excitement and optimism for the initiatives her state is apparently taking in bringing people to the tech world. There wasn’t even anything wrong with her wanting to mention specifically how it could present advantages to young Black kids. (I mean, that kind of talk will get the anti-DEI conservatives all riled up, but, you know, f*** them.) But Hochul, like many white people, especially white people in politics, was unable to identify with Black people, let alone Black children, so while speaking with a Black interviewer, she chose to say a thing that anyone with even a single Black friend whose name isn’t Tim Scott, Candace Owens or Jason Whitlock should have known was egregiously offensive—even for an off-hand remark.

Imagine believing that poor Black kids from the Bronx are so primitive and isolated from the modern, technological world that, in 2024, they’re looking at a computer for the first time and saying, “Well, I’ll be. What kind of strange contraption is this, massa’? In fact, what is a ‘contraption?’ I don’t even know how I learned that—what’s that thing letters come together to make?—word.”

Suffice it to say, the backlash was swift, particularly, from Black officials in the Bronx like Assembly Member Karines Reyes, who responded by telling Hochul via X, “Our children are bright, brilliant, extremely capable, and more than deserving of any opportunities that are extended to other kids.”

Deeply disturbed by @GovKathyHochul’s recent remarks and the underlying perception that she has of Black & brown children from the BX.

Our children are bright, brilliant, extremely capable, and more than deserving of any opportunities that are extended to other kids.

Do better. https://t.co/4nZbNiugeu

— Assembly Member Karines Reyes, R.N. (@KarinesReyes87) May 6, 2024

Governor Hochul’s remarks regarding young black children in The Bronx were harmful, deeply misinformed, and genuinely appalling.

Full statement: https://t.co/KE0iuoTPs9 pic.twitter.com/vBZETcJ70P

— Amanda Septimo (@AmandaSeptimo) May 6, 2024

Of course, after the backlash started pouring in, Hochul issued an apology and a whitesplanation of what she was actually trying to say.

“I misspoke and I regret it,” she said in a statement. “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. That’s why I’ve been focused on increasing economic opportunity since Day One of my Administration.”

She isn’t wrong about the lack of access, of course, but the words “I misspoke” represent the biggest cop-out for the use of offensive language second only to “It was taken out of context.” Hochul didn’t misspeak—she said exactly what she intended to say. My guess is she spoke through a Caucasian lens that simply hasn’t had any intimate exposure to the Black populace in her state, and that caused her to say something extremely stupid—and extremely white.

Hopefully, she has learned something from this experience.


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The post NY Gov. Hochul Under Fire For Saying Black Kids ‘Don’t Even Know What The Word Computer Means’ appeared first on NewsOne.

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