Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s recent comments about black children have caused a wind of criticism for being tone-deaf and socially bankrupt.
In a social media campaign video shared on Twitter Tuesday (July 10), Bevin visited the Nativity Academy, an independent school in West Louisville’s Phoenix Hill neighborhood to meet members of the West Louisville Chess Club. The school’s black population sits at 86 percent with 13 percent towards the Hispanic population.
During his introduction, Bevin suggests how he was surprised to meet black chess club members although the black students make up most of the school’s student body.
“I’m about to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville chess club…not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town,” he said. “And, yet, some incredible young minds, some incredible teachers, people pouring into these young people. Come along and let’s check it out.”
“For the governor to perpetuate such a thing at a planned event, on a scripted video – angers me, disheartens me, saddens me – I really have no words for it,” David James, President of Louisville Metro Council said. He wasn’t the only one to take offense to the comments. Residents in the area also appeared to be offended by Bevin’s comments.
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) July 10, 2018
While Bevin hasn’t commented on the backlash, Elizabeth Kuhn, communications director for the office of the governor, claims Bevin’s critics are shifting the narrative of his trip.
“[Bevin met with the chess club] to showcase an important program that is encouraging sportsmanship and character building among Kentucky’s youth,” she said. “It is disappointing that some are trying to shift the focus away from the incredible accomplishments of these talented kids.”
Bevin, who had four black adopted children, has faced criticism in the past. ABC News reports community leaders and residents slammed Bevin for his plan to fight violence in Louisville’s West End neighborhood with prayer patrols in highly concentrated African-American neighborhoods.