Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin thought his visit to the West Side of the city was harmless, but his tweet about his experience drew major backlash as residents called him out for unconscious racism, reported the Courier-Journal.
Bevin visited the West Louisville chess club at Nativity Academy. “It’s not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town,” he said in a video.
In the video, Bevin takes a moment to play with the kids, and praised the faculty for the program. “Some incredible young minds, some incredible young minds, some incredible teachers, people pouring into these young people,” he posted on Twitter.
Councilman David James, said he visited the school just for a photo opportunity. “It was just an obvious move by the governor to take photos with the African-American community,” James said. “To perpetuate a stereotype of the African-American community like that is unbelievable.”
Other community members dragged him for the offenses comments.
“Bevin, Blacks in West Louisville enjoy chess, tennis, and many other activities not associated with guns and violence,” Donovan Taylor, the secretary for the Chickasaw Neighborhood Association said on Facebook. “To think less of west Louisville shows your thinking of the residents of the area.”
Sports Radio Host Matt Jones called him tone-deaf.
“That’s a really tone-deaf, dumb intro by the Governor,” Jones said on Twitter.
Bevin’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn released this statement: “Governor Bevin met with the West Louisville 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.”
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) July 10, 2018