Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul drew criticism for her remark about Black children in the Bronx being unfamiliar with the word “computer.” 

The Associated Press reported that Hochul had made the controversial comment on Monday alongside other business leaders at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California. She discussed how creating economic opportunities in artificial intelligence could help residents in low-income neighborhoods. 

“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,” Hochul said during the conference. 

The remark went unquestioned during the interview, prompting the governor to elaborate on her commitment to assisting communities of color with artificial intelligence technologies to combat social inequality

However, several political colleagues in New York, including Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo (D-Bronx), described Hochul’s remark as “harmful, deeply misinformed, and genuinely appalling.”

“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 said in a statement obtained by the New York Daily News. “I would invite Gov. Hochul to visit us in the Bronx to experience first-hand the intelligence, resilience, and joy that radiate from Bronx children and residents each day.”

Hochul then released a statement Monday afternoon walking back the contentious remark and said, “I misspoke and I regret it.

“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, Hochul said. “That’s why I’ve been focused on increasing economic opportunity since Day One of my Administration, and will continue that fight to ensure every New Yorker has a shot at a good-paying job.”

On Tuesday, New York Mayor Eric Adams defended Hochul and stated that he knew her true intentions when she made the statement. 

“When you make thousands of speeches, when you’re in front of the cameras all the time, when you’re trying to be authentic and say the things that you’re really feeling, one can sit back and do a critical analysis of every sentence you say, the mayor said during a Q&A with reporters at City Hall. “I know her heart. I know what she was intending to say, and she was not trying to be disrespectful to the people of the Bronx, Adams said, per New York Daily News.