Bronx Lawmakers Slam Hochul Over ‘Hurtful’ Comments About Black Children

Bronx politicians are expressing outrage over New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) assertion that some black children in the borough don’t know what the word “computer” means. Hochul made the comments Monday while speaking at a forum in California about creating a diverse workforce in areas like artificial intelligence.

“Right now we have you know young black kids growing up in the Bronx who don’t even know what the word ‘computer’ is” Hochul said. “They don’t know they don’t know these things. And I want the world opened up to all of them.”

Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo (D-Bronx) invited Hochul to visit the Bronx “to experience firsthand the intelligence resilience and joy that radiate from Bronx children and residents each day.” Assemblywoman Karines Reyes (D-Bronx) said she was “deeply disturbed” by the governor’s remarks and urged her to “do better.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) called Hochul’s words “inartful and hurtful” but said he doesn’t believe that’s where her heart is. “I firmly believe she wants to see all of our students excel” Heastie said adding that he hopes to work with Hochul to bring greater access to technology to Bronx children.

Hochul later acknowledged that she misspoke and expressed regret for her comments saying the problem is that black children in the Bronx too often lack access to the technology needed for high-paying jobs in emerging industries like AI.