Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has only been in the presidential race for a few weeks and he’s already having to get a lesson on racial tone-deaf comments. After recently referring to fellow candidate Cory Booker as “well-spoken”, the senator explains how he was “taken aback” by the statement.
Sen. Cory Booker had to remind Bloomberg about how harmful the description of “well spoken” can be to Black people after the billionaire presidential hopeful recently spoke with Gayle King in a CBS interview about the possibility of there being no people of color in the upcoming Democratic debates.
Bloomberg responded to King’s question by pointing out how “well spoken” Booker is.
“Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times. And I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times. He’s very well-spoken. He’s got some good ideas. It would be better the more diverse any group is.”
Following his comments, Bloomberg received immediate backlash on Twitter by people who were tired of the derogatory assumption that the majority of Black people aren’t “well spoken”.
“Ask yourself how many times you hear a POC say the same of a white person,” reporter Alexi McCammond tweeted.
Booker responded to Bloomberg’s comments in an interview with Zerlina Maxwell and Jess Mcintosh on the Sirius XM show “Signal Boost,” saying he was “taken aback” by the statement.
“Mike and I have known each other for a long time. When I was first becoming the mayor of the city of Newark, he gave me a tremendous amount of practical support, so I just have a great deal of regard for him as somebody who, you know, helped me help the city of Newark.”
“But I agree with you that it’s sort of stunning at times that we are still revisiting these sort of tired tropes or the language we have out there that folks I don’t think understand, the fact that they don’t understand, that it’s problematic.”
Now, with Kamala Harris dropping out of the race, Booker went on to express his hope that Bloomberg understands why his statements were an issue, especially when Black people,
“continue to deal with issues, whether it was the blackface controversies from earlier this year to the challenges that I don’t think folks understand with Kamala [Harris] dropping out of that race. Why so many people, friends of mine, family members who weren’t even supporting her but found it insulting that she would not be in this race with her qualifications, with her experiences, with her talent, with her gifts. And other people are, who frankly, very bluntly do not have her same record.”
Mike Bloomberg called @CoryBooker “well-spoken,” which drew criticisms from voters of color.— Signal Boost (@SignalBoostShow) December 6, 2019
Here’s the US Senator’s response to @ZerlinaMaxwell & @jess_mc this morning.
📻FULL CHAT: https://t.co/SOW8B2mbjo pic.twitter.com/2JCYAU2M8E