‘I misspoke’: Gov. Hochul ‘regrets’ saying black kids ‘don’t know what the word computer is’


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was apologetic after being called out for comments about technology and children in low-income areas.

In promoting the state’s $400 million “Empire AI” endeavor to fund artificial intelligence, Hochul was speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, California. But the Democrat was criticized after she claimed there were black children in the Bronx who didn’t know what the word “computer” meant.

“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,” Hochul 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,” she told moderator Jonathan Capehart, a black MSNBC host. “We will be the best, we will be the first, and I want others to follow, 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.”

“I want the world opened up to all of them because when you have their diverse voices innovating solutions through technology, then you’re really addressing society’s broader challenges,” Hochul said.

New York State Assembly Member Karines Reyes was among the lawmakers and other officials in the Bronx who took offense to Hochul’s comment. She said she was “Deeply disturbed” by the governor’s words and “the underlying perception that she has of Black and brown children from [the Bronx].”

“Our children are bright, brilliant, extremely capable, and more than deserving of any opportunities that are extended to other kids,” Reyes added. “Do better.”

Democrat Bronx Assembly Member Amanda Septimo slammed the comments as “harmful, deeply misinformed, and genuinely appalling” in a statement.

“Repeating harmful stereotypes about one of our most underserved communities, while failing to acknowledge the state’s consistent institutional neglect, only perpetuates systems of abuse,” she added.

Hochul’s former rival and ex-New York congressman Lee Zeldin shared a response from former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines who wrote, “It’s remarkable just how out of touch the people supposedly leading this country are.”

Hochul expressed her “regret” in a statement to the New York Post, claiming she “misspoke” during her speech.

“I misspoke and I regret it,” she said. “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.”

Despite her regret, Hochul was buried under criticism over her viral comment.

Fox Business host Charles Payne said on X, “Insulting but typical.”

“Why do white liberals think so little of African-Americans?” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz asked.

“Our children, far from being underestimated, are the epitome of brilliance, resilience, and untapped potential,” wrote Assemblyman John Zaccaro.

“They are not only capable but deserving of every opportunity that their counterparts are offered. It’s disheartening to witness such a portrayal that undermines their abilities and aspirations,” the Bronx Democrat added.

Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo, another Bronx Democrat, said: “I would invite Governor Hochul to visit us in The Bronx to experience firsthand the intelligence, resilience, and joy that radiate from Bronx children and residents each day.”


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Frieda Powers
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