The dangers of the many misguided stereotypes about Black people are most dangerous when someone in power subscribes to them.
On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin visited Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, a Louisville, KY middle school that is 86 percent Black and only 1 percent white according to education nonprofit GreatSchools.org. Before entering, Gov. Bevin recorded a brief introduction for his Twitter followers.
In a promotional video he tweeted, Gov. Matt Bevin said the club was “not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.”
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) July 10, 2018
“I’m about to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club,” he explained. “Not necessarily something you would’ve thought of when you think of this section of town.”
The video quickly drew blowback from some community leaders and members who described the governor’s comments as tone-deaf.
His misconceptions come as no surprise, as Bevin has sided with issues negatively affecting minority communities, such as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, lowering the minimum wage and the Blue Lives Matter law.
Elizabeth Kuhn, the governor’s spokeswoman, said in a statement to ABC News that Bevin met with the chess club to “showcase an important program that is encouraging sportsmanship and character building among Kentucky’s youth.”
“It is disappointing that some are trying to shift the focus away from the incredible accomplishments of these talented kids,” Kuhn added.
While the Governor’s intent might have been good, words have meanings. In 2018, Bevin might want to look up and read about the many definitions that define Black Excellence.