Hochul Apologizes for Saying ‘Black Kids’ Don’t Know the Word ‘Computer’

At the Milken Institute Global Conference, the annual gathering of billionaires and business leaders in California, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York was given a spotlight on Monday to expound on her new artificial intelligence initiative.

But as she explained her desire to make technology more widely accessible, especially in low-income communities, the governor made an extemporaneous comment suggesting that Black children from the Bronx were unfamiliar with computers.

In an exchange with the moderator, Jonathan Capehart, Ms. Hochul said that “right now we have young Black kids growing up in the Bronx who don’t even know what the word ‘computer’ is.”

Ms. Hochul, a Democrat, did not immediately correct her gaffe. Instead, she went on to explain that her goal of providing more access to technology would spur innovation and help address societal inequity.

The governor on Monday evening expressed contrition over her word choice, saying that she “misspoke and I regret it,” adding that her focus was on increasing economic opportunity.

“Of course Black children in the Bronx know what computers are,” she said in a statement. “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 A.I.”

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