Bloomberg says ‘enormous cohort’ of black and Latino men ‘don’t know how to behave in the workplace’ in resurfaced 2011 video
Bloomberg overgeneralizing black community: Herman Cain
The New Voice CEO and former presidential candidate Herman Cain discusses former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s comments about minorities in the workplace and the black community’s support for President Trump as well as economic growth during his presidency.
While promoting a multimillion-dollar initiative to aid minority youth in New York City in 2011, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said “enormous cohorts” of young black and Latino men “don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.”
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The comments, which the three-time mayor of New York City made during an interview with "PBS Newshour," are the latest in a wave of unflattering videos that have resurfaced as the 78-year-old billionaire has emerged as a serious contender in the Democratic primary. He was speaking about his $127 million, three-year Young Men Initiative, funded in part by his own charitable organization.
“The blacks and Latinos score terribly in school testing, compared to whites and Asians,” Bloomberg said. “If you look at our jails, it’s predominantly minorities. If you look at where crime takes place, it’s in the minority neighborhoods. If you look at who the victims and the perpetrators are, it’s virtually all minorities. This is something that has gone on for a long time.”
He touted his administration’s work to reduce the crime rate — New York crime did drop when he was mayor, as did the number of incarcerated people, according to PolitiFact — which he credited to diversifying the police force, saying it was particularly important to do so for “black and Latino kids and their families and neighborhoods, because that’s where the crime is.”
Still, Bloomberg acknowledged that problems remained in the city.
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“There’s this enormous cohort of black and Latino males, let’s say 16 to 25, that don’t have jobs, don’t have any prospects, don’t know how to find jobs, don't know what their skill sets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively,” he said.
He suggested a possible solution would be to reunite at-risk kids with their fathers.
"There will be jobs, if we can get these kids, get their families together, even if their fathers don't live with their mothers, or have never been married, or even they're in jail, get the fathers engaged," Bloomberg added. "Lot of statistics show that if the father is engaged, it gives the kid some understanding that he's heading down the wrong path – and assign mentors to them."
In a statement to FOX Business, Bloomberg’s campaign spokesperson Michael Frazier defended the Young Men Initiative as a “meaningful way” to address inequality in the U.S. and said it served as a model for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program. He did not directly address the controversial comments.
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"There's no debate whatsoever that for people of color, and others, America has failed to deliver on its bedrock principle of equality of opportunity in the workplace,” Frazier said. “Everyone knows that, but few are able to address at least part of it in a meaningful way as Mike did through his administration’s Young Men’s Initiative, which Mike is discussing and what became the national blueprint for President Obama’s My Brother's Keeper program.”
The comments drew widespread criticism from both sides of the political aisle, just one week after Bloomberg came under fire for two separate resurfaced audio clips that revealed him defending "stop and frisk," the controversial policing strategy that disproportionately targeted men of color, and blaming the end of redlining, a discriminatory policy that cut off certain neighborhoods and potential homebuyers from mortgage lending opportunities, for the financial crisis.
Last week, he apologized for remarks he made in 2015 while defending the city’s “stop and frisk” policy under his administration, in which he acknowledged that it targeted minority "kids" whom cops must throw "up against the wall" to disarm.
"I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn't understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids,” Bloomberg said last week while campaigning in Houston. "I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn't, and for that I apologize."
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The Republican-turned-Democrat is expected to face fierce criticism from his Democratic rivals at the Wednesday debate in Las Vegas, which he qualified for early Tuesday.
According to an aggregate of polls by RealClearPolitics, Bloomberg is in third nationally, behind former Vice President Joe Biden and frontrunner Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
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