Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg once claimed that black and Latino men “don’t know how to behave” at work as he promoted a multimillion-dollar initiative to help minorities gain employment during his tenure as NYC mayor, according to recently resurfaced video.
“There’s this enormous cohort of black and Latino males aged, 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 that the — what their skill sets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace, where they have to work collaboratively and collectively,” the billionaire said in the 2011 interview with “PBS NewsHour.”
The quote is the latest in a string of remarks that have resurfaced from the billionaire presidential hopeful in recent weeks. Bloomberg has faced mounting scrutiny over controversial comments about “stop-and-frisk,” the practice of redlining and allegations of sexism at his media company.
The 2020 hopeful made the remarks during a press tour to promote his Young Men’s Initiative, a program aimed at securing meaningful work for marginalized people through a series of steps including setting up job recruitment offices in housing projects and placing probation centers in “high-risk” areas.
During the interview, the billionaire ex-mayor discussed why minorities needed the assistance.
“Blacks and Latinos score terribly in school testing compared to whites and Asians. If you look at our jails, it’s predominantly minorities. If you look at where crime takes place, it’s in minority neighborhoods. If you look at who the victims and the perpetrators are, it’s virtually all minorities,” Bloomberg continued.
“A lot of these kids, it isn’t that they’re bad kids. It’s that once they made a mistake, it’s very difficult to recover from that. But we have an obligation to them, if not for compassionate reasons, just for selfish reasons.”
In a statement to The Post, Michael Frazier, the Bloomberg campaign’s national spokesman, defended the candidate’s record on helping individuals of color gain opportunity to join the American workforce.
“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. 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.”